Double Feature

May 2019 - Big news out of Britain: Queen Elizabeth has decided to give up driving on public roads. The Queen is 92 going on 93. Her husband, Prince Philip, 97, recently gave up his driving license following a wreck that left a commoner with a broken wrist. I mention all that solely to lead into one of this month's movies, A Royal Night Out, in which the queen-to-be shows off her driving skills.

In 1945, Princess Elizabeth and her younger sister, Margaret, left Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Allied victory in Europe with the people gathered outside. News reports say they were part of a larger group, and the future queen was unrecognized as the group meandered through the heart of London. This PG-13 film from 2015 explores how their night might have gone if they had been able to slip away from the group and go out on their own.

Margaret (Bel Powley) is the instigator. She pesters Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) to ask their parents (Rupert Everett and Emily Watson) for permission to go out. The queen mum wants none of it, but King George gives the final OK – with strict conditions including a curfew and two military officers as escorts. The first and only stop was supposed to be the Ritz, but the young princesses quickly ditch their distracted escorts. Minutes later, Margaret's on one bus, Elizabeth's on another, and the buses are heading in opposite directions.

The rest of the movie mostly involves Elizabeth trying to find her spirited but naive sister. She gets help from a disillusioned airman named Jack, who thinks he's just helping out a helpless young woman named Lizzie.

Overall review: Liked it. Nothing too serious here. It's just an entertaining romp through WWII-era London. Give it a go if you have 90 minutes to spare.

Royalty also has a role in Kate & Leopold. James Mangold directs and helped write the script for this PG-13 romcom from 2001. Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman star. And, look for future Emmy-, Oscar-, and Tony-winner Viola Davis in a small role.

Jackman plays Leopold, a 19th century duke. He's in New York City to find a wealthy American to marry and bolster the family fortune. But, before he can announce a bride, he spies Stuart (Liev Schreiber), creeping around with a strange device. Leopold chases him to the Brooklyn Bridge, where both men fall through a portal in time. They end up in Stuart's apartment in 21st century New York.

That's where Leopold meets Kate (Ryan), Stuart's downstairs neighbor and former girlfriend. Kate is up for a big promotion at the marketing company where she works, but she can't help falling for Leopold's social charms and good manners. He's also pretty handy on a horse. That's all well and good until Stuart tells Leopold that he must go back to his own time.

Overall review: Ehhh, it was OK. Pleasant enough even though you know darn well how it's going to end. Jackman and Ryan make it easy to watch them get there.