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[personal profile] jacey
I'm not quite sure why Olivia Coleman got a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Undoubtedly she deserved an award, but surely not the musical or comedy category! It certainly wasn't a musical and nowhere near comedy. The portrait of Queen Anne was that of a pathetic, mercurial, sick woman with little understanding of her country's politics. She almost seems educationally challenged, which doesn't seem likely given her actual political record. Laughing at her is not an option, though she does some ludicrous things, more winceworthy than funny.

The story is basically about the Queen's favourite Lady Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, being ousted by Abigail, her own cousin (recently impoverished and on the make). Abigail is newly come into the Queen's service as a servant and schemes to make herself indispensible to the ailing queen. If that means climbing into her bed, she's determined to do it. Success is not what she imagined it might be. The triangular (sexual) relationship between these three women is central to the plot. The performances  (Coleman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz) are exemplary.

The filming locations are Hadfield House in Hertfordshire and (more briefly) Hampton Court. It's atmospheric, but forget historical accuracy. It's not attempting to be a biopic. It's a film to admire, but not neccessarily to see twice.
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