On the night that peace is declared and WW2 comes to an end London is out celebrating in full force. Two girls desperate to join in the fun beg their parents to let them out and after much persuasion are finally granted permission to head out into the night. These two girls are the Princesses Elizabeth (our Queen!) and her younger sister Margaret and this film is a take on what happened the night they went incognito into the streets of London, for yes that really happened! However what went on in reality is probably very different from the fun and games the two sisters encounter in the film.
After escaping from their chaperones the sisters are separated and poor Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon, pictured above right) spends the rest of the film desperately trying to find young Margaret (Bel Powley, pictures above left) and get home before their 1am curfew. Where Elizabeth is the sensible one, Margaret is wild and naive and gets herself into some sticky situations which causes plenty of laughs. Whilst trying to find her sister without revealing her true identity, Elizabeth meets Jack (Jack Reynor) a soldier who has his own secret to hide but finds himself reluctantly agreeing to help her find Margaret. The two follow Margaret’s journey across London narrowly missing her on several occasions. Luckily we are shown Margaret’s night too otherwise it would have been a bit boring just following Elizabeth and Jack. While their part of the story is sweet and you can see a relationship growing between the pair (something which seems a little wrong knowing how much the Queen and Prince Philip love each other, but we must remember this is just a film and not something that actually happened!) it is really Margaret who shines in the film, she has the funny lines and situations, bringing humour to an otherwise plain storyline.
That’s not to say that Sarah Gadon doesn’t do a brilliant job at portraying Princess Elizabeth, she shows us a determination and fierce loyalty towards her family and the public that a good Queen needs. Jack Reynor is also very good as the young mysterious soldier, but it is really Bel Powley who deserves the most credit, she is delightful as Margaret and will hopefully go on to star in plenty more films. The cast also includes Rupert Everett and Emily Watson as the King and Queen who bring a few laughs as the anxious parents awaiting their daughters’ return, but you don’t really see too much of them.
Overall the film is very sweet and it’s nice to imagine the Queen as a young girl getting up to mischief on the streets of London, but for me I found it hard to associate the Queen and this version of her – maybe because I’m too young to have known the Queen any younger than 70 odd – and therefore had to keep reminding myself the girls in the film are supposed to be our royalty! All the cast are great and it will appeal to all ages (myself and my friends were the youngest in the cinema by quite a few years!) but if you’re looking for something with more of a storyline then I would give it a miss. The whole film is basically Elizabeth tracking down Margaret and nothing much else, which is perfect if you’re wanting something light that you don’t have to pay too much attention too to understand!