Preference for Fictional Fiction

In the absence of my boyfriend and thus a live-in excuse to procrastinate, I took fate and a glass of wine in my own hands and decided to watch a movie last night. We don’t have a TV and the boyfriend downloads any movies we watch, so to secure and watch a film is a feat for me.

Watching The Queen with Helen Mirren made me feel a little as if I were peering with binoculars into the palace windows. The film used the royal handling of Diana’s death as its plot; I felt like a I was reading an imaginative, physchoanalytic tabloid. (Is the news footage of Diana’s mourers real? I think I remember hearing it was.) It was a well-done film, but it shares much the same problems as the novella The Uncommon Reader, also based on Queen Elizabeth. It’s a weird mix of real and immagined. The Queen is even more factious than the novella, if only because the novella’s plot was imagined and the film’s was real. I prefer my fiction more fictional, and my biographies factual. It’s handled as if a conflation of art and life would take on a greater degree of realism, but it comes across as celebrity speculation.
I quite like it when Lord Byron or Oscar Wilde conflates art and life to dramatize themselves; it just feels different here. Is it a function of the Queen Elizabeth’s reticence that people like to imagine her private inner life or does her position as Queen transform her into a public figurehead at the service of the arts?

2 thoughts on “Preference for Fictional Fiction

  1. A really funny farcical, fantasy, parody on the British royal family is the book The Queen and I by Sue Townsend. I last read it in high school years ago but I remember loving it and lol-ing.

  2. Despite the fine acting I didn’t like the film, it was just a docudrama not much different than lifetime tv.

    I am not a big fan of royalty but I thought the expectation for the Queen to display faux gushing of sympathy for a woman she loathed and act so contrary to her nature (which is typical british-stiff upper lip etc) was unreasonable.

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