Her Majesty

Her Majesty


Reviewed by: Gabriella Trybalska

Her Majesty is an auspicious debut for director Mark J. Gordon. He crafts a beautiful story about a little girl's dream to meet Queen Elizabeth II in 1950s small town New Zealand.

The girl in question is Elizabeth Wakefield (Sally Andrews) who, after seeing the coronation, becomes obsessed with meeting the queen. Young Elizabeth repeatedly writes to London requesting that she pass through her home town of Middleton when she tours New Zealand. However, Elizabeth, the girl, gets side-tracked when she meets Hira Mata (Vicky Haughton), who teaches her the traditions that Maori people have lived by for generations.

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Elizabeth's wish is soon granted, when it is announced that the royal party will be visiting Middleton. The imminent arrival of the young monarch causes much discussion and planning in the town, as the elders campaign to remove Hira's house once and for all. They try everything from an ill-fated attempt to burn it down, to blocking the house from its road side view by erecting huge boards of wood, but nothing can detract from the surprise that awaits the locals as the Queen finally arrives.

Gordon has created a sweet drama that contains all the elements of a darn good story. He has assembled a talented cast of children, adults and a very smart dog, from Elizabeth's dastardly older brother (Craig Elliot), who tries everything to make her look bad, to the mayor (David Stott) who is helplessly under the control of his domineering mistress.

Most important is the young actress, Sally Andrews, who injects zest into the role of Elizabeth. It is doubtful that another girl could create such a likeable character, with her angelic looks and obvious enthusiasm for a film that does not sound especially great on paper, but comes to life on screen.

While Her Majesty is clearly endearing, there are some elements that are not entirely successful. Perhaps, Gordon intended for the heroine's mentor to appear as a pantomime villainess at the start and then warm her to the viewers later, but it doesn't work. It feels annoyingly exaggerated, as is the overuse of music growing to a crescendo at less than dramatic moments.

Despite these minor annoyances, Her Majesty is a heart warming tale of friendship that crosses barriers of race and prejudice, with a few good laughs along the way - in a word, cute.

Reviewed on: 15 Aug 2002
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A girl dreams of meeting Queen Elizabeth II.
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Director: Mark J Gordon

Writer: Mark J Gordon

Starring: Sally Andrews, Anna Sheridan, Mark Clare, Alison Routledge, Geoff Snell, Craig Elliott, Patrick Morrison, Todd Emerson, Alexander Gandar, Anton Tennet, Stuart Devenie

Year: 2001

Runtime: 105 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: New Zealand


EIFF 2002

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