History of the World According to the Movies: Part 92 – 1990s Europe

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Helen Mirren stars as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the 2006 The Queen in which she won a well deserved Oscar. The film is a portrait of the relationships between the British Royal Family and the Blair government amidst the tragic death of Princess Diana in a car accident, who was well loved by the public and not so much by the royals (though they were genuine upset by it). Still, you could also say that this film is about how Queen Elizabeth II was under pressure to publicly express her grief on Diana’s death despite being uncomfortable showing her emotions. Still, The Queen is a fitting film that shows what it’s like being a constitutional monarch in this day in age.

Of course, the United States wasn’t the only place where things were happening in the 1990s. After all, the Cold War ending in Europe led to a massive readjustment in Eastern Europe where the 1990s were certainly not a fun time. This is especially true if you lived in Yugoslavia which had been struggling since the 1980s to keep itself together since their dictator Josip Tito died, but it would ultimately fail in 1991 and by the end of the 1990s, the country would be no more since it would split in other nations like Croatia, Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Slovenia, and Kosovo. Let’s just say it’s a hell hole for Europe. Of course, the other places in Eastern Europe besides the former East Germany, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland would be kind of bummed that Communism fell, except perhaps hockey players and women athletes (especially in East Germany). In Britain, you have the rise of Tony Blair as well as a lot of drama in the royal family with Prince Charles and Princess Diana getting divorced, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson getting divorced, and Princess Diana dying in a car accident in 1997 which led to Elton John singing at her funeral and his eventual knightood. Still, Britpop was in vogue at this time with Oasis and the Spice Girls (that would have one member marry a famous soccer player and another father Eddie Murphy’s baby). Nevertheless, there are movies made in this time that contain their share of inaccuracies which I shall list.

Europe:

The European Union was in existence in 1993. (It was known as the EEC or European Economic Community until 1993.)

Yugoslav Wars:

It was the Cincinnati Accords that kept the peace in Bosnia. (It was the Dayton Accords contrary to Behind Enemy Lines because the treaty was signed in Dayton, Ohio. And perhaps not for long.)

France:

Jean Dominique Bauby’s girlfriend at the time wouldn’t visit him in the hospital after he experienced a debilitating stroke. (While this is shown in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, his late-life partner Florence Ben Sadoun has claimed to be a faithful partner who visited him at Berck-Sur-Mer frequently during Bauby’s final days, driving from Paris for 3 hours 2-3 times a week to be with him {and she had 2 kids from a previous marriage as well}. And she has evidence to back it up since Bauby said so in his memoirs and there’s video footage as well. I think the writer for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly kind of owes Florence an apology.)

Jean Dominque Bauby’s baby mama visited him frequently while he was in the hospital. (Contrary to The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, it’s disputed how often Sylvie de la Rouchefoucauld visited him. She said she saw him frequently while other sources said she rarely did so and was with her boyfriend in New York the day Bauby died in 1997 and she’s hardly mentioned in his memoirs aside from a Father’s Day outing on the beach when she brings their kids to the hospital. Still, she wasn’t the long suffering ex who still loved him in the film who takes up the slack because his girlfriend wouldn’t see him. Rather she moved on. She never had to call up Bauby’s girlfriend or be worried about him being neglected because she’d be at his bedside as often as she could. Oh, and they had two kids not three since the director couldn’t decide between three child actors for the film. Then again, the mother of Bauby’s kids is a successful businesswoman with her own PR company)

During his time in the hospital Jean Dominique Bauby was an invalid babe magnet with women surrounding him in the hospital vying for his attention. (Bauby didn’t mention any of this in his book though friends said he was very charming with a sense of humor. He was also said to be engaging.)

Jean Dominique Bauby’s friend Jean Paul K came to see him in the hospital. (Contrary to The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Bauby wrote in his memoirs that he felt guilty for not seeing his friend after he had been released from being held hostage in Lebanon.)

Jean Dominique was a miserable wreck during his time having locked-in syndrome and wanted to kill himself. (His girlfriend Florence said that he never wished to die even when he was unable to move everything in his body but an eyelid.)

Florence Ben Sadoun was a weak-willed and selfish girlfriend to Jean Dominique Bauby and was unable to face her once handsome boyfriend. (Contrary to her portrayal in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, she was anything but. Also, she wasn’t a model at the time; she was a critic and a single mother of two.)

Great Britain:

Robin Janvin was Queen Elizabeth II’s private secretary in 1997. (Not until 1999, unlike in The Queen.)

Queen Elizabeth II:

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip shared a bed. (Though shown in The Queen, the British public have known that the royal couple don’t sleep in the same bedroom since 1982 when someone tried to break in into the Queen’s chamber at Buckingham Palace. However, this just applies to Buckingham Palace since it’s not the only royal residence.)

Between Princess Diana’s death and Queen Elizabeth’s public capitulation, opposition to the monarch dropped from 25% to zero. (Contrary to The Queen, support for republicanism has remained consistent for decades at 15-20% even before and after Diana’s death.)

Prince Charles was Queen Elizabeth II’s only child. (Though he’s the only one of her kids shown in The Queen, she has four kids including Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward.)

Princess Diana:

Princess Diana had an affair in 1995 with surgeon Hasnat Khan. (Contrary to Diana, though the real Khan said that he and Diana knew each other and dated for two years, but neither he nor Diana have confirmed whether they were in what you’d call “true love.” Yet, this doesn’t stop close friends from saying that he was her “true love” but maybe this is what they’d want to believe. Still, it’s likely that Khan and Diana were no more than just friends, though she might’ve been more like a desperate, wounded stalker who wouldn’t leave him alone.)

Princess Diana dated Dodi Al Fayed to make Dr. Hasnat Khan jealous. (We’re not sure about that contrary to Diana. Also, she and Khan broke up on mutual terms since he couldn’t handle the media attention of her celebrity and she didn’t want to move to Pakistan.)

Princess Diana was a sweet natured, wistful, half-wit. (According to one critic of Naomi Watts’ Diana performance, yet she’s said to be quite smart who tried to make the world a better place but she was also conniving, manipulative, and materialistic. She was also driven by payback trying to make Prince Charles jealous such as posing in a revealing swimsuit on the south of France while the Prince of Wales hosted a 50th birthday party for Camilla Parker-Bowles. Yet, didn’t work since Charles had been in love with Camilla for years {as well as fooled around with her} and only married Diana due to pressure from his family. She was also estranged from her mom for dating a Muslim and hadn’t spoken in months before she died.)

Tony Blair:

Tony Blair and his family cooked their own food while he was prime minister. (Contrary to The Queen, I’m not so sure they’d even be allowed to do this. I mean the President of the United States has his own chef and servant retinue. Then again, maybe the Blairs prefer to cook themselves.)

Miscellaneous:

Adderall was around in the early 1990s. (It wouldn’t be on the market until 1996 and wouldn’t be sold in generic until 2002.)

Nintendo game cubes were around in 1995. (Not until 2001.)

LED warning lights were around in 1995. (Strobe beacons would’ve been used because I have no memory of hearing about LED until my teens.)

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