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HomeReviews MoviesQueens movie review & film summary (2024)

Queens movie review & film summary (2024)

The result is an intimate portrayal of creatures ranging in size from ants to elephants. We learn about their social structures, familial bonds, mating habits, gender dynamics, and more.

As such, “Queens” hits all the regular beats of its genre. Climate change is threatening these unique and captivating animals’ very existence. Ditto for development that is shrinking their habitats. And of course, the natural world is unforgiving if not cruel. Outside of the handful of animals who get eaten, we see many species kill their own, usually with a male destroying the offspring of a rival, despite the mother’s best efforts to stop him. Lions, bears, orcas, monkeys, they all do this, with bee and hyena matriarchs getting in on the infanticide. It’s a reminder that humans aren’t the only ones who kill our own kind.

The show doesn’t draw that particular conclusion, but it does seem to imply that animal mothers offer us meaningful models of feminine leadership—and that idea doesn’t work. The selected animals’ matriarchal societies aren’t “new” like the opening monologue insists. Elephants and the rest have been led by the female of their species since time immemorial.

Moreover, these female animals do not offer a kinder or different model of leadership than species with male leaders. We literally watch a hyena kill a pup—her niece no less—in her bid to take leadership of the pack! Animals can be ruthless, female or not. The only possible exception here is the bonobos. “Queens” notes that they are the least violent and most playful of all primates—and the only ones led by females. They also don’t have to fight for food, living in a jungle where there’s plenty for everyone. But the show doesn’t investigate what came first—their peaceful way of life, their feminine leadership, or their relative prosperity.

Instead, “Queens” is more interested in amping up the drama in ways that pander to a feminist-light, girlboss type of sensibility. For example, the show features a variety of over-the-top musical cues that had me laughing at rather than with “Queens.” Do we need countless songs playing on the word “queens” and applying our pop culture understanding of that word (and “mother” in the very cool Gen Z sense) to be fascinated by the natural world? No, we do not. Also, throwing in tracks like a remake of Destiny Child’s “Survivor” as a wolf learns to make it without her pack is so on the nose as to be silly.

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