The Image of Helen Mirren in Reference to Performance Style and Notions of National Identity
Helen Mirren an English actor was born on 1945 in West London. She started her acting career while in high school in the year 1965 to present. She is one of the best British film actresses. In addition, she is very famous for appearing in movies, TV series, and stages. Helen has won an academy award, three golden globes, four BAFTAS, four Emmy awards, and two Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Awards in her acting career. This essay will analyze Helen Mirren’s image in reference to her style of performing and her philosophy of national identity in a few of the selected movies that she appears.
In the movie by the name, “The Debt,” that was released in the year 2010, the image of successful and excellent performance by Helen Mirren is portrayed in the screen role in the movie the Debt where she employs her skills of performance in her role as Rachael in the movie. The Debt is a story about the three young Mossad agents who are given the task of bringing down Vogel who is a war criminal in Nazi to justice.
In the movie, Helen Mirren, Ciaran Hinds and Tom Wilkinson are the main actors in their 30 years mission. Helen Mirren in her role as Rachael applies her performance styles effectively by bringing out the image of a commanding and experienced retired police agent that eventually leads to the tension and realty of the movie being a an investigative movie. In addition, she also shows her skills and improved style and experiences of movie performances when she has to visit Vogel who is also known as the surgeon for gynecological test in order to get a bit closer to him and get some vital information. This brings the movie to a point where every viewer is suspicious and tense about what will happen next. Helen as Rachael also employs flashbacks and flash forwards screen styles to make movie a quality production worth watching twice (Amy, 1996).
In the movie “The Queen,” Starring Helen Mirren and James Cromwell, present an enlightening and often-comical portrait of the British royal family in crisis after the tragic loss of the princess via a tragic road accident that left everyone in shock and in demand for an answer. Mirren successfully bring out the accounts of events that followed the news of Diana’s death. Diana who was referred to as the people princess died in a car accident Paris. Helen delivers a gleaming performance in the movie as Queen Elizabeth 2 via a role that takes the people’s body and souls through the painful suffering when she shows the troubles present in living in the royal family limelight especially during the seven days period immediate to the death of Princess Diana. The associates of the British royal family are still in shock of the news, whereas the public in Britain and some other parts of the world that had people linked to the royal family show suffering over the news of the death of Diana to a point of stipulating an external show of grief and sorrow. Helen delivers the unrevealed problems faced by the queen in the events of such matters. However, Helen steers an admiring role as at the end of the movie where there is the presence of an increasingly outmoded monarchy and viewers maintain their respect to the queen. Furthermore, she gives the viewers more than a glimpse into the hermetic heat and personality of a living queen (Bruce, 2006).A miraculous and entertaining performance is presented by the character of the Helen as the queen in the movie.
In the movie the “love ranch,” directed by Helen Mirren’s husband Taylor Hackford, the movie is about a bittersweet love story that twirls and turns unstable when the players who are caught up in a romantic triangle loss their control and cross the limits. Joe Pesci and Helen Mirren as Charlie Bontempo and grace Bontempo respectively star in the movie. The wife and husband in the movie team up to possess up a brothel in Nevada. Among the movies that Helen has starred, the love ranch is the most ridiculous as it tries to be rough involving aspects like border patrols, prostitutes etc. In this movie, Helen performance style brings out an image of a strong woman in the society or even as a man in disguise. Such an image that she reflects captures the strong women in the society by representing them on the screen by owning a brothel in the movie the love ranch in Nevada. Her style of acting may also bring effectiveness in bringing out the real contemporary world where superior men and women tend to live fancy lives. This is due o the fact that the movie is based on a true story of a real brothel in Reno, Nevada where the filming of the movie takes place. Helen as Grace Bontempo manages many of the young beautiful women at the brothel offering themselves to the interested men who are passing via the Nevada town in search of fame and fortune in the Gold rush of the late 19th century (Bruce, 2006). In real life, these activities areas a reflection of the current activities that take place in such places today. This is evident when she was interviewed in the daily express about what she thought of her role as Grace Bontempo in the movie the “Love ranch” and this is what she had to say, “I am a man in disguise.”(Ivan, p. 23). This showed her ability to take on different images in her acting as evidenced by her taking different positions in the screens (Ivan, 2003).
Helen is a versatile and a vibrant woman when it comes to the role of playing the upper-class women as it is displayed in the movie the “Love ranch”. She also stated that for a film star to keep the audience entertained, one needed to always look for a piece of work that would be of much difference from the last piece to in order to bring about a successful and entertaining actress.
Helen continues to show her skills and experience in her performance style in the movie the “Brighton Rock” that was released in the year 2010. The movie is set in the 1960’s during the era of British youth evolution. The movie is based on the story of a teenager British killer by the name Pinkie Brown at a seaside resort and his relationship with Rose; Rose was a waiter at the teashop owned by Helen Mirren. Helen Mirren plays the role of a tea owner shop by the name Ida and her role comes in when one of her waiter (Rose) is involved in a romantic relationship with the gangster Brown. Pinkie is a 17-year-old gangster who is out for the hunt of the killer of the leader of their group. He succeeds in killing bringing the man down, however, Rose has the capability of bringing Brown and his gang down due to the photo that connects the murder committed by Brown and his gang that she has with her. In an effort to get out of the mess, Brown opts to court Rose and they get into a romantic relationship in the process. Finally, her boss Ida is interested in the personality of Brown and thus sets things in the right way. The role of Ida was motivated by her wishes in all the movies to play the position in the style of the great Italian actors in the late 1950’s (Alan &Peter, 1999). The intervention of Helen into that case shows smartness, high level of intelligence, toughness and is regal; these styles of performance are also evident in the performance in the TV series “Prime suspect” where she plays the role of a police detective in homicide cases.
In the movie “Some mother’s son”, based on the 1981 true story of the hunger strike that was in a prison in Britain. Prisoner Bobby Sands is the leader of a protest that is fighting for the prisoners’ rights against mistreatment. The focus of the film is on the mothers of the two major leaders of the strike in the British prisons and their efforts to save their sons. Helen Mirren has a stunning performance as the mother of the prisoner by the name Aidan Gillen who is also the cellmate of Bobby Sands. Helen Mirren character as Kathleen Quigley brings out the image of motherhood qualities to one of the prisoners in protest in the movie. The movie, is very moving as it is about the suffering of the men in prison and the struggle of the two mothers trying to maintain hopes of the safety of their sons while in jail. A similar excellent performing style is significant in the movie “Cal” where she played the role of a protestant widow who is in love with a catholic man. In these movies (Cal and some mother’s son) Helen Mirren performing character tends to be more passive; having things happen to her, this is a strong style of acting as it tolerates the unthinkable in the setting of a movie. Alan &Peter (1999) asserts that they like the way Helen Mirren and the other actors apply their performing skills to show a series of a moving and evolving history and how it affects people’s day-to-day lives. Some mother’s son was a sad and a moving film and Helen Mirren managed to pull out a tremendous performance as always.
In the movie Shadow boxer Helen Mirren is able to put a superb performance in her screen style together with Cuba Gooding junior. Shadow boxer was released in the year 2005 where Cuba and Helen play as Mike and Rose respectively. They are both hired serial killers and at the same time are lovers. In the movie the Shadowbox, they are hired by a mafia by the name Clayton to go and kill his wife Vickie. However, while on their mission, the unexpected happens. Their target Vickie is nine months pregnant, they find her on labor, and as a result, Helen decides to bend the law by not killing the woman as per instructions. Instead, she shows some human kind characters by converting from a serial killer to a middle wife. This is against the will of Mike who later agrees. Mike, Helen, Vickie and the infant run for safety at a place in Philadelphia. Helen is a gorgeous woman who is able to create a performance that brings out an outrageous plot of the movie Shadow boxer.
In addition, Helen is able to bring out the image of real situations that people face in day-to-day lives (Bruce, 2006). This is because one is shocked by the violence of her role as a serial killer and gets touched in scenes where she finds Vickie on labor and instead decides to help her thus making the movie a non- exploitative one. This is one of Helen’s best performances on the screen, which uplifts her image as a female herself. To the philosophy of the national identity, Helen shows how life can vary in absurd ways via the horrific violence and extreme sexual behaviors in her role as a hired killer in the movie.
It is evident that almost all the movies by Helen Mirren, she has an outstanding performance style. In her movie Elizabeth 1 by the HBOs, Helen Mirren represents the greatest Monarch of England, who after graduating to her middle age from her youth ages finds reduced power in using her virginity status as a tool of negotiating for her political strength on the world arena. She is pushed by the Privy Council to get married in order for them to produce a child that would be a descendant of the monarchs in the England’s royal family. Jeremy Irons is the considered husband to the queen Elizabeth due to their love relationship. Helen portrays a wonderful performance together with her husband Irons even when they are in conflict. She gives a very good vision into an image of a very complex and incredibly intelligent woman who likes to keep herself a few steps ahead of the men courting her and the surrounding ministers in the movie (Amy, 1996). This style of performance also portrays an image of how a woman should behave in the public especially in higher ranks of positions in the government.
This is evident in the cases where she and her lover have issues but one cannot clearly tell since she does not out show them. In the arena of leadership qualities, the movie Elizabeth 1 has many guidelines, for instance, Helen portrays a woman who was much alike like her parents, King Henry VIII and the mother (Ann Boelyn) in her acquired leadership styles. On leadership style in performing, she shows that it is the country that she is foremost married to, that is a good sign of patriotism. In the aspect of relationships, unlike any female leaders around the world, Helen was deeply in love in the movie the Elizabeth 1 as per the expectations of the public of her country. Contrary to the good side of her leadership, Helen Mirren brings out the image of all leaders of dealing with those who went against her via actions such as punishments, violence, and sometimes torture. Helen in this case tries to bring out the message that it is almost impossible for a leader to have all the people under his or her rule go in accordance to her style of leadership (Amy, 1996). In this movie, Helen is a legend.
The movie the Red features Helen Mirren alongside Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, and John Malkovich. Helen Mirren plays the role of Bruce Willis old former teammate in the black- ops CIA agent who is called in for help when Bruce Willis realizes that his life is in the loose to hired assassin. In the movie, Helen Mirren takes a very different role where she appears very serious while holding a rifle. In the movie, Helen Mirren tries to bring to the limelight via movie performance how some security agents frame their agents later after retirement either to prevent some information from leaking outside or for other reasons. Helen Mirren’s performance style in this movie is action packed, fun, and an enjoyable movie. Her appearance in the action packed movie and the presence of her holding a big machine gun shows how talented she is when it comes to applying the performance styles in whatever role that she has. This is due to the fact that most of her movies, she is seen acting as the queen or someone’s wife (Geoffrey, 2000). The drastic change of style is very important in changing her image to the public viewers.
Mirren has also managed to present herself in images of different nationalities. While she is Italian, she has successfully displayed herself as English Monarch as Queen Elizabeth in the movie the Queen. Other cultural representations of her image include the image of women as indulgent in the series Prime Suspect. Mirren image further aims to shift the representation of the traditional women’s role through her diverse acting, ranging from a detective taking a leading role in the television series Prime suspect to other roles where she is represented as a strong willed woman. Her ability to project the contemporary female identity in emotive rather than propagandist terms is strongly lauded (Hallam, 2002). For instance, Thornharn asserts that the popular image of Mirren besides constraining the subversive meaning of Prime suspect and its ensuing critique of the patriarchal culture is carried out within a safe distance of liberal feminism (Hallam, 2002).
In the prime suspect Helen Mirren via her ever-great performance screen in front of the cameras shows that she is also a pro in hard movie roles when she acts as a detective police officer in all the prime suspect series. Helen Mirren is the detective by the name chief Jane Tennyson, the only female police officer in the London homicide police department. She takes the role of the head of the squad that investigates murder cases. In her role as a DCI, she proves that women too have it by succeeding in almost all of her cases to combat crime; this is via the use her power to bring out the superb performing style of a super woman with much great authority and intelligence level as a police officer. In addition, as the chief detective, she gets a lot of respect from all the police officers under her command. Her role in the prime suspect a detective Jane Tennison won an Oscar award and more than 20 others main international awards. To the viewers, the idea of Helen Mirren as atop detective and he success in leading the squad to combat crime is a deep uplift of the bar for the police dramas and in real life to the police units in many countries. Helen as detective Jane Tennison and the wining of many awards is evident that viewers do not have gender bias to Helen taking what many would have seen a male dominated role and thus lays an emphasis for the call of gender equality (Amy, 1996).
Helen Mirren is one of the most respected, best-known female actors whose acting career in international stages, screens, and in televisions, is acclaimed for her diversity and ability to change her performing style to accommodate challenging roles. She has won a number of awards due to her versatile and strong performances due to both her versatile and strong performances due to both both her versatile and strong performances on screens and in her performance. Her image in the performance style manages to put up a given character that she does in a superb manner. This is seen in the movies like the queen where she plays the role of the queen Elizabeth 2 and her movie the Elizabeth 1 where she plays the role of Queen Elizabeth herself (Amy, 1996). Helen is a great actor on stage and on the screens; she is able to switch her roles from the queen, the mother or the wife most of her movies to the roles where she is seen very violent and commanding. Such cases are present in the movies such as the Shadowboxer, the red and the TV series the prime suspect to name but a few. Helen Mirren has had a successful work on the screen and a result she has not devoted herself to issues like kids, however, she is married to Taylor Hackford who is a movie director and the couple has even appeared on the same screen.