The best way to look at this movie is not as the story of Alfred Hitchcock making Psycho. This movie is about what it was like to be married to Alfred Hitchcock while he was making Psycho. While Helen Mirren receives second billing behind Anthony Hopkins, she is very much in the foreground as Alma, the woman behind the Master of Suspense through much of his career, and it is her performance that carries this movie.
The Queen is the story of the near-eternal struggle between tradition and modernity. The bare plot outline of Stephen Frears‘s thoughtful portrait of Great Britain in the throes of that struggle probably does not excite the casual moviegoer, but this quietly engrossing drama is anything but dull or sedate.
This is the sequel to the film that needed no sequel, the cinematic equivalent to painting legs for the Mona Lisa. It seeks to explain things best left to the individual viewer’s imagination. For these reasons, I hate it.
But is it a good movie? Judging by the standards set by 2001: A Space Odyssey, the answer is no. By the standards set by what tends to call itself science fiction these days, it’s ok, but not great.