This movie is set during a week in 1997 that most of us can remember. At the beginning of the week Princess Diana, the divorced wife of the Prince of Wales, was killed in a car accident. Tony Blair, the newly elected prime minister, appeared on television with with a statement that eulogized her as “the Peoples Princess”.
As the nation mourned the popular princess, Queen Elisabeth and her family remained in seclusion at Balmoral Estate in Scotland. The Queen had been trained from childhood never to display any emotion or other weakness in public, and she presumably also wanted to keep her grandchildren away from the press whose paparazzi had played a major role in their mother’s death.
But as the Royal Family remained silent, public opinion began to turn against them. A poll published at the end of the week showed 25% of the respondents in favor of abolishing the monarchy. At that point the queen reversed herself, brought her family to London, and addressed the nation on television. This quickly restored her popularity and soon everything was forgotten and forgiven.
(Forgive me for giving away the ending, but I’m assuming that everyone already knows this.)
A long time ago, before xxxHolic, before Chobits, even before Cardcaptor Sakura, the enigmatic team of artists known as CLAMP created a manga called Magic Knight Rayearth, which was made into a two-season television series, the first anime to be based on their work.
Perhaps because it was an early work the series has a strangely uneven tone. Watching the first season for the first time I initially felt amused, then impatient, and finally shocked. The second season seemed darker but more enjoyable. When I watched it for a second time I had a better idea of what the first season was really about and I enjoyed it a good deal more.
Actually once I accepted that there is more going on here than just a goofy parody I found the story powerful and affecting. If you are a fan of CLAMP’s other stories you will definitely want to see this one. On the other hand, if you have no previous exposure to CLAMP’s somewhat twisted sense of humor you would probably do better to start with one of their more accessible works, such as Cardcaptor Sakura or Angelic Layer.
This is one of those quirky British film comedies, actually a bit quirkier than most.
The Reverend Walter Goodfellow (Rowan Atkinson) is the Vicar of the tiny village of Little Wallop. He is a good man, but rather dreamy and unobservant. Among the things that he has failed to observe are that his son is being bullied in school, his daughter is sleeping around and his wife (Kristin Scott Thomas) is thinking about running off to Mexico with her sleazy American golf instructor (Patrick Swayze).
Obviously this family needs help, and what could be more helpful than a cheerful, competent, wise old housekeeper (Maggie Smith) who will show up one day and gently show them how to solve all of their problems.