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Her Majesty

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In this debut from New Zealand director Mark J. Gordon, a charming rural village goes a-tizzy when, in 1953, Queen Elizabeth comes to visit. Particularly consumed is 13-year-old Lizzie (Sally Andrews), who while planning for the royal visit begins an unlikely friendship with an old Maori woman, Hira (Vicky Haughton), whose take on the British crown is decidedly less enchanted. And so in this quite sweet, sun-lit coming-of-age tale, Lizzie learns some hard truths, and the cost of loyalty. Young Andrews ably carries the film, with a pluckiness that seems wholly natural (she lisps slightly when angry), and I wished Gordon had focused more on Lizzie rather than spinning out several other comedic threads about the Queen's visit. He also aims hard for contemporary political correctness, causing Her Majesty to tie up rather too neatly at the end, but the film's heart is certainly in the right place. 2.5 cameras

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