Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Young Victoria - Mini-review

Could you have imagined before this movie having the words Queen Victoria and sexy in the same sentence?  Our mental image of Queen Victoria is of her at the end of her reign, in her widow's black, with that stern expression.  Her reign lasted for 63 years, the longest in English history.  She became queen at the young age of 18, and that is the setting for this wonderful period drama film.

Emily Blunt plays the young Victoria, in the months just before he uncle, the King, dies and she becomes queen.  Her mother (Miranda Richardson) and her mother's lover Sir John, played by the menacing Mark Strong of Sherlock Holmes, try to pressure her into signing a regency agreement until she turns 25.  She resists, and becomes queen without a regent.

She doesn't know who to trust as her mother had kept her isolated from the court.  Lord Melbourne, played by Paul Bettany, advises her, but also stacks her ladies in waiting with his supporters and friends.  And her uncle, the King of Belgium, tries to influence her from afar, and has his nephew, Prince Albert coached to become her suitor.

Amongst all this intrigue is a very young pretty girl who wants companionship.  She and Albert fall in love, but it's complicated, as she, being queen, needs to be the one to propose!  She also wants to wait to establish herself as the new queen.  There were  assassination attempts on Victoria early in her reign.

All I really knew about Queen Victoria was her later years, as played by Judi Dench in Mrs. Brown.  In the film Mrs. Brown, we see Queen Victoria in deep mourning for her husband who had died years before at age 42.  She spent the remainder of her life wearing mourning black and living in near isolation.  Mr. Brown (Billy Connelly), a Scottish manservant, became her constant companion.  What we see in The Young Victoria is the beginning of this great love, a love so strong that she had Albert's clothes laid out every morning after he died.

Emily Blunt is just exquisite in the role of Victoria.  I'm disappointed that she didn't get an Oscar nomination.  (Did Meryl really need a 16th?)  Emily Blunt is an actress that I've enjoyed watching since her supporting role in Devil Wears Prada.  The gorgeous Rupert Friend plays Prince Albert.  I just adore period dramas like this.  It's a great romance, and even more fun because it's a true story!  The costumes are amazing, and all the palaces and so on great to look at.

I give The Young Victoria three and a half stars.  My friend and I were a little teary eyed at the end -- and in a good way.  A great film to see with girl friends.  Emily, I have a feeling we'll see you nominated for that Oscar down the road.

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