Last year was a great year for the commonwealth.
Since the nuptials between Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, last April, Americans have not been able to get enough of movies depicting the royal family. Movies about the world’s favorite royals made before the wedding have been playing a lot more on TV since it took place, and a slew of new movies have been made. After watching quite a few of these royal movies, I’ve come up with a list of some of my favorite ones, both good, bad and in between.
The Young Victoria
Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend portray one of the most famous royal couples of all time in this Jean-Marc Vallee-directed film, made in 2009. Not only were they the Prince William and Kate Middleton of their time (except it was groom who married into royalty in this case), but they were the ancestors of several of Europe’s royal families, including the royal families of Germany, Russia, Norway, Greece and Spain.
While certain parts of this movie are hard to watch, Keira Knightly does a fantastic job of portraying Princess Diana’s ancestor, Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Cavendish. Viewers who remember the horrible time Diana had in the royal family will find the connections between the Duchess and the Princess eerie. However, the movie itself provides a lot of insight into how the British monarchy has functioned for generations, and makes the instance of Princess Kate marrying into that family seem like a miracle. Which brings us to…
William and Kate
This delightfully bad made-for-TV Lifetime movie was made in the five-month window between when William and Kate’s engagement was announced in November 2010 and when they got married the following April. Needless to say, the actors don’t really look anything like the people they’re portraying (except for the hair) and the special effects in certain scenes are not well done at all. But if you’re up for a good love story, this one’s a guilty pleasure.
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Cate Blanchett plays Queen Elizabeth I, the first girl-power figure Great Britain had. While not the longest reigning monarch, she did rule the British Isles during the Golden Age when England overtook Spain as the nation possessing the most powerful navy in the world, this at a time when European countries were starting to depend on marine-powered exploration. The movie also stresses the fact that this is a woman who did not need a man.
Whether you’re a fan of The Firm or not, these four movies are great films that have not only earned commercial and critical success, but just might make you a little smarter, too. Let the history lessons begin.
Maddie Shannon is a former arts & entertainment editor for The Collegian who now writes a fortnightly column for The Collegian.