Saturday, 7 July 2018

Her Majesty

This film is a sweet comedy from New Zealand set in the 1950's and surrounds the events leading up to the visit of the (newly crowned) QEII to a small town there. It's a charming and delightful period piece and family film, set in lovely countryside which is beautifully filmed and depicted. It has the feel of a Disney fantasy about it.

The central character in the story is a dreamy 13 year-old Elizabeth, played terrifically by Sally Andrews, who desperately wants to meet the Queen when she arrives. She tries really hard to juggle those around her and to manipulate events in order to achieve her aim. What makes it complicated is those standing in her way, introducing all sorts of problems to make her quest less likely to achieve her desired outcome.

She befriends a Maori woman who lives alone in the town and whom everyone, in their aloof, prejudiced, frightened, racist and stuck-up way looks down on and tries to discourage. But she perseveres and discovers a rich history that the old woman has been a part of in the town, long before any of them were around. When her family and people were not downtrodden by the incomers. Proceedings are further complicated by an abusive older brother, one-upmanship amongst local dignitaries, dishonesty, politics, jealousy, relationships, crushes and love!

It's a shame that most of the actors around Andrews are really not up to the mark. The children seem to be doing the best job of it and for that, it seems a little like a BBC Children's production with the adult cast picked from those who were approaching it with little effort, considering it to be a 'filler' job. It feels a bit like Little House on the Prairie sometimes in terms of target audience and the emphasis on the undertone of good, honest values winning the day. But for all that, it's touching, heartwarming, funny and perfect for a quiet Sunday afternoon's viewing.

The style of shooting, costumes, vehicles, houses and sets rely heavily on the bright, saturated, comic-like primary colours the style of Pushing Up Daisies, American Beauty or Edward Scissorhands. It's shot with interesting angles and wonderfully thought out juxtaposition of elements throughout. It's a delight to watch if for nothing else, the style, and if you get the chance, I'd recommend you doing so.

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