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The Helen Mirren Bio

The Helen Mirren Review –

by Nate Lee

Best Films:

Elizabeth I and The Queen

The success of the two Elizabeth films rests squarely on the uneasy head that wore the crown. Liz I showcases Mirren's mastery of dramatic speeches and flamboyant stage acting brought skillfully into cinema. Liz II, the opposite, shows the emotional stirrings of a monarch under quite too much self-control.

Great Performances You May Not Have Seen:
Inkheart (Aunt Elinor)
State of Play (Russell Crowe's tough D.C. editor)
The Last Station (Leo Tolstoy's wife, with Christopher Plummer)
Calendar Girls (Golden Globe nominated performance as a woman baring all to raise money for her husband's medical needs)
Gosford Park (Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated performance as a housekeeper)
The Pledge
2010 (Russian cosmonaut)
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover
The Long Good Friday (Bob Hoskins' lover)
O Lucky Man
Pascali's Island (opposite Ben Kingsley)
The Comfort of Strangers
Where Angels Fear to Tread
The Queen (Oscar and Golden Globe-winning performance in the title role)
Elizabeth I (Emmy, SAG, and Golden Globe-winning performance in the title role)
National Treasure II (Nicolas Cage's professorial mother)
The Madness of King George (Oscar-nominated performance as King George's loving wife)
The Royal Helen:
The Queen (Elizabeth II)
Elizabeth I (Elizabeth I)
Excalibur (Morgana)
The Madness of King George (Queen Charlotte)
The Snow Queen (The Snow Queen)
The Prince of Egypt (The Queen)
The Royal Shakespearean Helen:
A Midsummer Night's Dream (Titania)
As You Like It (Rosalind, daughter of the Duke)
Hamlet (Gertrude)
Cymbeline (Princess Imogen)
The Real Helen Mirren:
A Midsummer Night's Dream

Maybe it's the sex and royalty of her queen Titania. Maybe it's the smile that she so rarely gets to give on screen. Maybe it's the illusory quality of this masterpiece and the fact that we really aren't even close to the real Helen in her screen roles.
Acting Style:
Those who first experienced Helen Mirren's talent as QEII or even the considerably sexier QEI or Nicolas Cage's mom may find it hard to believe that she is known as one of the sexiest British (not an oxymoron any more) dramatic actresses. Like most of the best, she spends as much time doing live theatre as doing films, and mostly classics. Still, for most of her sixty-plus years, her penchant for showing some skin has not been limited to posing for calendars. Go back through her body of work and you'll find a surprising plethora of quite unregal behavior.
Bits and Quirks:
The straight-backed patrician stance, with the determined stare and chin. Often, though, a quick glance at the floor, almost like checking her mark. A variety of scary bits. Tucking the hair behind her ear. Clinching her fist.
Great Scenes:
Elizabeth I

> The speech to the soldiers waiting for the intended Spanish invasion
> The reaction to the execution of Mary Queen of Scots
> The speech at the very end
> The death scene
> Confronting Essex

The Queen

> With the stag alive
> With the stag dead
> Meeting Prime Minister Tony Blair
> Finally going out to talk to the grieving citizens and getting the flowers
> Random scenes with Prince Philip

National Treasure

> Browbeating Jon Voight, her divorced husband
> The underground ruins

The Madness of King George

> The quiet bedroom scenes with Nigel Hawthorne as the king
> Admonishing him for attacking a lady-in-waiting
> Admonishing the regent and son for his lack of respect
Go to the... Helen Mirren Bio