When I read the summary for this, it seemed very psychological and intense. I’ve grown quite attached to Sally Lockhart and the other characters. Sometimes I think Pullman is as good as Dickens when making up Victorian characters. The actions in this novel were very horrible to read about because the idea of having one’s child taken away from you especially in a patriarchal, puritanical society such as Victorian England is extremely cruel. I can’t imagine being in Sally’s situation, and while it is sensationalist and fictional, the historical accuracy in these books is more or less correct. I really wanted to get to the end so it could be all resolved and see how it all was connected. The only one grievance I have was that I knew who the enemy was when reading the summary, but it took Sally 3/4 of the book to figure it out which I don’t blame her since I’ve read many more books, movies and television shows. Once again, another good thriller from Pullman, and probably the most tense so far. Though, I’ve noticed he tends to like to use the chilling and malicious monkeys.
The screenwriter Peter Morgan said he wrote about a “cold, emotionally detached, haughty…prickly… out-of-touch bigot,” but due to people’s adoration of the Queen, they feel he wrote her with compassion. It’s a good screenplay, and an interesting movie to make since it does portray real people still alive. What really makes the movie is the acting; though, I wouldn’t expect anything less when I watch British films or television. I think Helen Mirren is not only talented, but very beautiful. Maybe it is because I do like the Queen, but I think what makes this movie good, and the Queen sympathetic is the portrayal by the magnificent Mirren, supported by Michael Sheen (Tony Blair), James Cromwell (Prince Philip), and others. Watching the film now coincides with Blair’s end as PM, so it was odd remembering that time. I can’t believe it’s been ten years of anything; I remember 1997 so well. I really never understood the backlash. I liked Diana as much as the next person, but the sentiments against the Queen and family seemed unnecessarily cruel. Maybe I was too young then to really appreciate the situation and Diana’s impact because my Dad always adored her and didn’t care for the family. He still thinks Charles is an idiot; I think the film was slightly more toward that view too actually. I don’t consider myself a Monarchist, but I have always liked the Queen. I’ve always found her an enigmatic but strong character. I think only the steeliness and elegance of Mirren could pull it off. Mirren said in her Oscar speech the movie was for the Queen for her “courage and consistency” over the years who while cold, difficult, prickly or not, Mirren flew and carried this film. Goodness, I hope I look half as good and as graceful as Helen Mirren when I am older. On a final note, I dislike hunting for sport, but I really hope the Stag was real in the first scene and not CGI, but definitely fake in the last one. Seriously, I really want to go to Scotland now.