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Her Majesty (2001)

Cast: Sally Andrews, Sally Andrews, Vicky Haughton, more...
Director: Mark J. Gordon, Mark J. Gordon
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Image Entertainment
Genre: Action, Adventure
Running Time: 105 min.
Languages: English
    see additional details...

Which is more important -- loyalty to your friends, or making your dreams come true? A young girl is forced to make that difficult choice in this comedy-drama set in the early '50s. Elizabeth Wakefield (Sally Andrews) is a 12-year-old girl growing up in the small New Zealand town of Middleton. Elizabeth is fascinated by her namesake, the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II, and when word gets out that The Queen may be visiting New Zealand, the schoolgirl sparks a letter-writing campaign to invite The Queen to Middleton, with the help of her best friend, Annabel (Anna Sheridan). The good news is that Elizabeth's plan works, and The Queen will indeed visit Middleton, but the bad news is it's not certain if Elizabeth will get to meet her. Elizabeth's father, John (Mark Clare), runs the town's biggest business, a cheese factory, and it looks like The Queen may pay the factory a visit, but Mrs. Hobson (Liddy Holloway), a pretentious sort who heads the ladies' gardening club, believes the local Rhododendron Trust might be a destination more befitting the Royal Family (it doesn't help that Mrs. Hobson has been having an affair with the mayor). Amidst all this confusion, a local eccentric makes her opinions known in a series of public rants -- Hira Mata (Vicky Haughton), a elderly woman of Maori descent who still holds a grudge against the British for the death of her grandfather at the hands of English colonials almost a century ago. Elizabeth gets to know Hira, and comes to the conclusion she's not as crazy as most folks have led her to believe, and she decides to stand by her new friend when Hira Mata is accused of vandalism, even if it might prevent the visit of her beloved Queen. Her Majesty was the first feature film for director Mark J. Gordon. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Majestic and Sweet by talltale September 30, 2006 - 8:38 AM PDT
The very fine children's film HER MAJESTY takes a look at 1950s New Zealand, as the just post-coronated Queen Elizabeth (who, in her latter days, is now the subject of the new Stephen Frears movie "The Queen") makes her first royal visit to that distant country. It should equally please kids and adults, particularly the latter of whom can remember the early period of this queen. The DVD transfer, as close to perfect as you'd want, is rife with the clear, pure colors that come from an environment lacking in much pollution, typically splendid New Zealand scenery, and sets and costumes brimming with artifacts and fashions of the day--colorful, funny and memory-jogging.

With these wonderful accoutrements, the movie could easily have coasted on a so-so story. Instead the tale is a "grabber" that offers nostalgia, innocence, sibling rivalry, history, politics and even economics served up in a stew that kids can understand and adults enjoy. The lead actress, Sally Andrews, gives a terrific performance (she's won some international awards, as has the film), even managing to do a musical number atop a giant circle of cheese in which she's--appropriately--good but not great. The rest of the cast is fine, too, although the lead "villain" maybe slightly overplays her hand.

If you are interested in or have spent any time in New Zealand, you'll appreciate the Maori mores and culture shown via the old woman that our young lead befriends, whose history and struggle provide the emotional/political core of this surprising film which even offers occasional relevance to today's America. It's easy to understand why "Her Majesty" has won so many of those "Audience" awards at small film festivals from Stony Brook, NY, to Ojai, CA, Newport Beach, Palm Beach, San Diego, and elsewhere. Its heart, mind, cast and crew were all in the right place, and after experiencing this lovely film, you may feel that you were, too.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.67)
3 Votes
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