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In the Frame

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  582 ratings  ·  98 reviews
A pictorial autobiography of Helen Mironov, featuring family photographs, publicity shots from her early career, and some stunning images by the world's leading photographers, all linked together with her memories of the time. Large hardback, pp272.
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 20th 2007 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson (first published 2007)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  582 ratings  ·  98 reviews

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Mark Desrosiers
Jan 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
I found this book in my neighbor's apartment while catsitting, and between brushing fur and wet-wiping an adorably overweight cat's butt (her tongue can't reach), my lust for Helen was rekindled. What an odd career: she's starred in the worst movie of all time ( The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu [oh c'mon, Caligula wasn't that bad!]) and the greatest political film ever ( The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover ). She was Liam Neeson's sackmate for four-odd years. (Now she's married to ...more
May 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is enormously satisfying. This brilliant and sensual actress addresses her family and career, friendships and lovers, with disarming directness. It is also absolutely chock-full of photographs by famous photographers and not; family snapshots, some historical;, art and design shots; and of course, many of Mirren in her many roles on stage (and screen).
I did not read every word of every essay, but Mirren is particularly kind to every man she's ever loved. Some of us will be particularly
Julie Christine
Jul 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
I have long admired actress Helen Mirren, so this was a treat to discover. This isn't an autobiography nor does Mirren explore her past in great depth. It's a lovely portrait of memories in text and photos of her development and experiences as an actress. There is more energy devoted to her years on the stage, rather than her more recent work in film. Mirren's voice comes through as down-to-earth and earthy, a creative soul devoted to friends from adolescence and her early years in the theatre, ...more
Apr 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed this book. I liked how there were so many pictures and the words are there to describe. She does not over dramatize or under dramatize her life. You can tell she just really loves her life and the people around her.
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, 2013
Excellent! Helen Mirren gives us snippets of her professional and personal life experiences, along with a bunch of photos, some from her personal collection.

I enjoyed reading about the unusual and exciting life she has lead so far, and her jobs on the stage and screen.

One little complaint - I am being greedy and would have loved to have read more about the behind-the-scene stuff while filming Excalibur. I know that John Boorman did a commentary track on the dvd, but it would have been nice to
John Neil
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
I don't read a lot of biography and was given this as a gift. I dipped in and out of it over an extended period and found it mostly interesting and entertaining. Well worth a look if you also find Ms Mirren interesting and attractive.
Apr 02, 2008 marked it as to-read
a heroine of mine: queen, star, foxy lady & all that...
Sep 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A very interesting read. I also loved the photographs.
Lisa Marie
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
I tried several times but I really couldn't get into this - I'm so used to the "so-called" typical biographies/memoirs that feature pictures between chapters; for me all the pages and pages of pictures were more of a distraction and many of the pictures had no description included as to who the people featured in the pictures were. This had the feeling of someone handing me their photo albums and as I was looking through, I ask about this or that picture and, the person would tell me a little ...more
Jul 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, biography
I started this book a couple of years ago, but misplaced it when I was about half-way through. After re-arranging things recently I stumbled across it again, so took the opportunity to finally finish it.

What can I say..? Helen Mirren is simply a delight. The book is less of a proper auto biography, and more of a photo album with commentary. But this is what makes it charming, I think.

It was a fun enough read, and I enjoyed reading about the life of this incredible actress - some real surprises
Val Rich
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It's filled with photographs and pieces of art and most of all the memories of this very cool lady. I've never known much about Helen Mirren, but somehow always admired her. She seemed to be unabashedly herself. After reading the book, I know that to be true. Such a fun book to read. I love biographies because they open one up to the possibilities in life. That is so true with this book about a lady who has always set her own course and admirably so.
Jenny Cooke (Bookish Shenanigans)
Though there is not much text, this is a finely balanced autobiography which combines a fascinating array of photographs alongside her prose. It is a very engaging book that documents what many would now see as a golden age of acting but in a visceral way that shows the hard work involved in such an industry. At no point does she comes across as egotistical or arrogant, but there is a real honesty and admiration for her fellow industry workers. I loved it from start to finish.
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Such a neat idea for a book. In her introduction she writes how the pictures are the best part of any biography, so why not make it the focal point? So many images of her. She writes well and it’s satisfying. I like how she didn’t put everything in chronological order, saving her relationship with her husband for the end.

I now have a long list of films I want to watch starring Helen Mirren. :-)
Terri Dixon
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helen Mirren is one of my favorite actresses, ever since I saw her as Morgana in Excalibur; along with my favorite actor, Charley Boorman. I have seen every movie and TV show she ever did, and I was thrilled when this autobiography came out. It tells amazing details from her life and it is a great read. The pictures are also amazing. Must read.
Jan 16, 2017 rated it liked it
This was fun, especially the parts about Liam Neeson. Now I only hope she makes a second book taking her life up to the present day. Fun side note, my mother picked the book up for me and while talking to the librarian about it, randomly opened the book up to a naked picture of Miss Mirren while my ten year old son walked up to them. Good times!
Suzanne Fournier
I enjoyed this book, it was like reading a documentary. I'd like to know more about the Russian family, but found it interesting the gaps she left out. Particularly how she talks about the beginning of a relationship but never talks about how it ends.
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs-by-women
Such a talented, exceptional, beautiful woman.
Sheila Garry
Jun 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Actually 3.5 stars. I’ve always admired Helen Mirren and this book had loads of pictures of her throughout her career.
Mar 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Very interesting autobiography. Lots of fascinating photographs.
Dennis Lynch
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Chatty and informative autobiography with copious photographs of her.
Pris robichaud
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The Tits, Tiaras and Toils of the Queen, Helen Mirren, April 19, 2008
"The tiaras and silvering hair of Britain's sexiest sixty something - it's all here, in In the Frame: My Life in Words and Pictures, a glossy hardback scrapbook of photographs extensively annotated by Helen Mirren. Born Ilyena Vasilievna Mironov in Chiswick, London, in 1945." Eva Wiseman

Helen Mirren, my image of the perfect woman and actress, warts and all, beautiful to look at as she ages and beautiful in mind and soul as I
K. Velk
Jun 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Mirren fans
[N.B. I am posting a few reviews that I wrote back in 2008 for my blog. I wrote them contemporaneously with finishing the books, long before Goodreads. I thought they might be of some use here so I am reposting with slight edits to fit the Goodreads format].

I have written about Mirren and my general admiration for her before. After I saw the movie "The Queen," I was in one my periodic bloggish raptures. (,

It is interesting to hear from her directly and
Ann Keller
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible biography in both photos and words. Helen's story begins with her Russian grandfather, who was sent to London by the Czar. The Bolshevik revolution unfortunately cut off Pyotr Mironov from his homeland and family estate. The family settled in their new country and Helen's father found new outlets for his creative genius in music, painting, photography and finally, in writing.

From an early age, Helen liked being in the limelight. She loved ballet and often practiced at home on her own,
Corielle Hayley
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Tom and Lorenzo refer to Mirren as the Queen of Fuckinfantastica, which generally feels about right, and In the Frame does nothing to change that. It's very much the sort of thing that only got published because Mirren is famous, but she does a pretty bang-up job of knowing what she wants to do with the book. It's no tell-all but rather a swoop through a rather illustrious career on stage and on film, illustrated with a liberal dose of photographs.

I (choosing to live largely under a cultural
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've always found Helen Mirren to be captivating. I love the way she carries herself and the way she interacts with people. More than that, I love her sense of humor.

As an introvert, I have never been very gifted at communicating with people. As a teacher, I feel that each day is a new day on a stage. As a result, I am often captivated by people who have studied theatre. I do not believe there is enough Imodium in the entirety of the United States to get me on a stage, and I am in awe of people
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this book enormously for a couple of reasons:
1. more photos than usually included in such a book, illustrating not only her more famous roles, but the earlier and experimental period of her life in radical theatre, her family roots and her edgier experiments in style
2. this was clearly her voice, which is why I've taken off one star for the poor editing that let her down, e.g. in the first third of the book I found myself reading the exact same sentence twice, on at least two separate
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
I seldom read autobiographies but last week I was offered the chance to read Helen Mirren's autobiography and just couldn't resist.

I have enjoyed her work as an actress and always thought she might be an interesting person. But the truth is that with actors you never really kno, sometimes they are so well hidden behind their parts that it may be the character instead of the person that makes you curious.

Besides the book is filled with beautiful photos. Some pages even look like they came out of
Aug 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, biographical
This one is for fans of Dame Helen and film and theatre addicts (I qualify as all three), and takes you on a tour of her life, from her background (a Russian émigré father, East End London mother and growing up in Essex) to her early years in the theatre (including a wild trip through Africa with Peter Brook) to her marriage to director Taylor Hackford and winning the Oscar for "The Queen". Her life is so fascinating, and she is so completely cool and modest and funny that I found myself even ...more
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I found this book delightful and one of the best autobiographies I've read. As she states in the beginning, 'When I read an Autobiography, I am always drawn to the pictures." Helen Mirren tells her story in photos, which is absolutely fabulous. Starting with photos of her parents and Grandparents, you learn of her Grandfather's life in Russia, and that she finds letters in Russian after her parents die. She finds someone to translate them and she learns her families history. She has someone ...more
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Dame Helen Mirren (born Ilyena Vasilievna Mironov), DBE is an English stage, film and television actress. She has won an Oscar, four SAG Awards, four BAFTAs, three Golden Globes and four Emmy Awards during her career.

Mirren's autobiography was published in the UK by Weidenfeld and Nicholson in September 2007, under the title In the Frame: My Life in Words and Pictures. Reviewing for The Stage,
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“It seems to me that the years between eighteen and twenty-eight are the hardest, psychologically. It’s then you realize this is make or break, you no longer have the excuse of youth, and it is time to become an adult – but you are not ready.” 33 likes
“The years between eighteen and twenty-eight are the hardest, psychologically. It’s then you realize this is make or break, you no longer have the excuse of youth, and it is time to become an adult – but you are not ready.” 2 likes
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