I admit that I primarily know Helen Mirren from her work in Hollywood over the last 15 or so years (I remember seeing her for the first time in Teaching Mrs. Tingle, which I watched approximately 400 times in 1999, although I could not tell you why). She also pops up a lot on GoFugYourself, usually wearing something classy and cool. She, herself, seems classy and cool. This book? Classy and cool.
“When I read an autobiography, I am always drawn to the pictures. To me, it is what lies behind a photograph that makes it interesting. As you read and discover more about the personalities involved, the photos become more telling. The body language, the clothes, the background all take on a far greater meaning, and I find myself returning to the same photo again and again.”
Written in the early 200s, before she truly got Hollywood famous (the last major movie mentioned within is Calendar Girls), In the Frame covers Mirren’s life from a small child who grew up in a very poor but loving family, to her time in theater, to her introduction to TV and film. She fills the book with pictures, which I love — pictures of her friends and family and self. I was sad at first that I couldn’t listen to it as an audiobook, because I love her voice, but the pictures really make the book.
You will come away from this thinking that Mirren is even cooler and classier than you could have dreamed. She traveled the world with an acting troupe and slept on the savanna in Africa. She dated Liam Neeson before he was Liam Nesson. She stood up for herself when others tried to put her down. She married a wonderful man after decades of saying she’d never get married, and has been with him since 1986. She talks freely and intelligently about politics, sexism, drugs and the theater. She can also write really, really well, and I’m totally in awe of her.