I just watched Helen Mirren in “The Good Liar,” which got me thinking about her vast body of work.
She has loads of movies I have never seen, a challenge to a movie guy in these terrible days of padlocked theaters. May the Good Lord protect the streaming services, which keep us sane.
I especially have not seen her early films, the first of which was “Herostratus,” released in 1967, where she dressed in a teddy for a TV commercial. Her career had nowhere to go but up from there, and it surely has done that.
She has appeared in four movie versions of Shakespeare’s plays. In her 54-year career, she has appeared in 132 films. This includes several voice performances for animated movies but does not include stage roles in London and New York, of which there are many.
Even now, at age 75, she works hard. In 2019 she made “The Good Liar,” “Catherine the Great,” “I Love Berlin,” “Anna,” and appeared in “Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.” 2019 was a busy year for her.
She has played Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II twice, in “The Queen” 2006 and “The Audience” 2013 but also QE I in “Elizabeth I” of 2005.
I most enjoyed her role as a retired British MI6 assassin in “RED” and “RED 2” of 2010 and 2013. But in 2015 and 2016, she made the shocking “Woman in Gold,” highlighting antisemitism in the modern age and the beautiful story of food and love “The Hundred-Foot Journey.” I liked both films very much.
She played with Harrison Ford in 1986 in “The Mosquito Coast” as his wife, and 30 years later with Nick Cage in “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” as his mom. In yet another royal role, she played Queen Charlotte in the 1994 film “The Madness of King George.” In 1989 she appeared in “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover.”
As a mature 58-year-old woman, she played in “Calendar Girls,” where women in their middle years made a nude calendar to raise money for charity. As a young actress, she went starkers in “Age of Consent,” where she acted as an artist’s model for James Mason.
And she played Morgana in the 1981 “Excalibur,” and three years later had a place in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001” sequel, “2010.”
I couldn’t get to all of her films in one column, but perhaps I whet your appetite. I have seen none of her royal movies, nor have I seen “The Mosquito Coast.” I have lots of viewing ahead of me.
The Queen of England has awarded her the female equivalent of a knighthood. We may refer to her as Dame Helen Mirren, and rightly so.