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The Queen and I (2008)

“The Queen and I” (2008) on IMDb
Rating: 4/5
“The Queen and I” (2008) movie poster

This insightful, engaging, and personal Swedish documentary brings together filmmaker Nahid Persson Sarvestani, who participated in the 1979 revolution in Iran which overthrew the monarchy, and Farah Pahlavi, the former Iranian empress, while also touching on the historical background of their native country. Initially, the relationship between the two exiled women is rather cold and distant—highlighted by a memorable scene in which they stand close together looking in opposite directions—but they gradually grow closer to each other and eventually become unlikely friends.

Farah Pahlavi comes across as a charismatic and sympathetic person with a sense of humor. In one poignant scene, she visits the grave of her daughter. There is also a nice, heartwarming scene in which she calls and has a brief conversation with a man who has written a letter to her.

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While Persson Sarvestani does not avoid asking tough questions about the Shah’s regime, her questions and Pahlavi’s answers to them receive less attention than one might have expected; however, that does not make the film any less worthwhile.

One thing that makes The Queen and I particularly interesting and also gives it an additional dimension is its metafilm element: the filmmaker talks about the process of making the documentary, mentions that she is unsure of how the film will turn out, and later questions her objectivity.

(Original title: Drottningen och jag.)