Elizabeth: A Portrait in Parts is an evocative 90-minute film about the life of Queen Elizabeth II from the director of Notting Hill, Roger Michell, who died in September 2021, as he put the final touches to it. Film insiders say it’s rare for a royal documentary to receive a theatrical release – “a-once-in-a-generation event” – but it looks to be a huge hit.
It opens on June 2 in 250 cinemas in France, where it is being screened as a Pathe Live event. Around 300 UK cinemas will show it from Friday.
As one production source said: “The French will love it – they don’t have a monarchy.”
It is already being screened in Sweden, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand.
The insider said the film is playing on around 100 screens across those territories, and has grossed around £200,000 already.
It has the green light from Buckingham Palace, too.
“We don’t know whether the Queen has seen it,” said the insider, “but it got the approval of the Palace – after some time, it has to be said. There’s a lot there to look at.”
Elizabeth: A Portrait in Parts is a “fresh modern chronicle of the extraordinary 70-year reign of Her Majesty the Queen”.
It includes rarely seen footage of the Coronation and grainy pictures of what appears to be one of the Queen’s first horseriding experiences.
Producer Kevin Loader said: “When Covid affected our chance of shooting our next drama easily, he [director Roger Michell] rang me and said, ‘Let’s make an archive documentary. We can do that during these months when other things look impossible.'” Michell sent a “director’s statement” outlining the scope of the film.
It said: “Elizabeth… She is the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch. Ever. She is the longestserving female head of state in the history of the world…
“She’s entrenched as part of our collective unconscious, the stuff of our dreams, our projections, our sense of ourselves, by far the most famous female face in the history of the world.
“More people dream about the Queen than any other living person.
She’s more famous than the Beatles.”
It concluded: “As all around her, time and the world swirls like a tropical typhoon: everything in the canvas changes, absolutely everything… Except her.”
Loader said: “Roger finished the final day of the final sound mix of this film on the day he died. So we can, with confidence, say that this is the film as finished by him. We’re all proud to have been part of it.”
Elizabeth: A Portrait in Parts is in cinemas from May 27 and Prime Video from June 1.