A Royal Night Out (2015)

2016 #82
Julian Jarrold | 97 mins | streaming (HD) | 2.35:1 | UK / English | 12 / PG-13

A Royal Night OutA somewhat remarkable true story gets romanticised in this likeable comedy about King Colin Firth (Rupert Everett) and Queen Olivia Colman (Emily Watson) allowing Princesses Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and Margaret (Bel Powley) to go out on the town on V.E. Day. When Margaret runs off, Liz teams up with a grumpy squaddie (Jack Reynor) to track her down.

Gently amusing and relatively briskly paced, A Royal Night Out is lightweight and unchallenging, the definition of Heritage-ish lazy Sunday afternoon viewing. That means it will rub some viewers up the wrong way, but others will love its simple, old fashioned charms.

3 out of 5

Mrs Brown (1997)

2007 #89
John Madden | 101 mins | TV | PG / PG

Mrs BrownPeriod drama focusing on the friendship between Queen Victoria and her Highland servant John Brown, alongside political threats faced by the British monarchy in the 1860s.

There are undoubtedly some parallels to be drawn with recent Oscar-winner The Queen (British Queen retreats to Balmoral to escape the public eye amidst political events threatening the monarchy’s future, etc), but the real treats here are the performances. Judi Dench is fantastic as ever as the Queen, a character more complex than the stereotypical “we are not amused” image; and comedian Billy Connolly is surprisingly effective in a rare serious role.

4 out of 5