Reviewed by: Carissa Horton
|Featuring:||Emily Blunt (Young Victoria), Rupert Friend (Prince Albert), Paul Bettany (Lord Melbourne), Miranda Richardson (Duchess of Kent), Jim Broadbent (King William), Thomas Kretschmann (King Leopold of Belgium), Mark Strong (Sir John Conroy), [more]|
|Producer:||GK Films, Sarah Ferguson, Elisabeth-Ann Gimber, Elisabeth-Ann Gimber, Tim Headington, Graham King, Denis O'Sullivan, Anita Overland, Martin Scorsese, Colin Vaines|
“Her country. Her Heart. Her majesty.”
Her full name was Alexandrina Victoria (Emily Blunt), and she was heir to the British throne at the tender age of eighteen. Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent (Miranda Richardson), kept Victoria tightly cloistered from courtly influences from an early age. She hoped to mold her daughter into reflecting her own personal beliefs and not the beliefs of the current king. The Duchess' most trusted advisor, Sir John Conroy (Mark Strong), only encouraged this paranoid protection of the princess, nearly preventing her from attending King William’s (Jim Broadbent) birthday party, the last one of his life. Her life was pulled first one way and than another, decisions made for her. Even Prince Albert (Rupert Friend) was introduced to her from matrimonial hopes on the part of her Uncle Leopold (Thomas Kretschmann), King of Belgium. Despite the urgings of her mother and Sir John to sign over regency powers, Victoria stood strong. The morning after King William’s death, she was crowned Queen of England. Now Victoria must contend with the warring factions of the court and parliament, including the seductive nuances of Lord Melbourne’s (Paul Bettany) attempts to win her support. She finds herself quite alone, unable to trust her mother and certainly not Sir John Conroy. All Victoria can do is hope she makes the right decisions, one of them being to allow Prince Albert a permanent place in her life.
Many British films of a courtly nature overflow with unfortunate content. “The Duchess” or “Marie Antoinette” are good examples of a great idea gone horribly wrong. Not so in “The Young Victoria.” While there is some content, I was pleasantly surprised at its cleanliness. A few instances of violence do intrude, but nothing extreme. Victoria is manhandled as a young lady by Sir John Conroy. This, of course, makes her very uneasy in his presence throughout the rest of the film. A young man takes a bullet for another individual. An angry mob gathers outside Buckingham Palace at one point, hurling stones and breaking windows. Victoria herself even throws a few tantrums, either at her mother or once at Prince Albert for what she saw as his interference in her affairs.
Deceit plays a large role in “The Young Victoria.” You cannot have politics without politicians. Unfortunately, Victoria makes some very poor and petty choices in this film, but, more importantly, she learns from those mistakes.
There is one scene of sexual content between Albert and Victoria on their wedding night, but it is kept very low key with no nudity. Of course, since they are newlyweds, there is much kissing in several different scenes. Sexual innuendos are kept to a minimum, but they are still present, especially when Prince Albert is being forced to ingratiate himself to the queen. In all honesty, any sexual content is presented within the boundary of marriage, and it is definitely not extreme or graphic. I was pleasantly surprised with the low-key presentation of any sexual content.
It cannot be an easy thing to rule a country, even as a figurehead. The individuals in Victoria’s life tried their hardest to stifle her spirit. But Victoria remained strong. She never allowed herself to be pushed to the point of hopelessness. She knew that something better was just around the corner. Victoria learns to trust in this film. She thought she could handle the crisis alone, only to discover that she couldn’t. But instead of thoroughly trusting the politicians near her, she chose instead to put faith in her husband. Her realization of Albert’s usefulness was slow in coming. But once it did come, Victoria did not waste time. He was the man she went to for counsel, bringing their marriage even closer together. This is a positive film about how true love can spring from adversity. I wish Victoria had been a religious person, but this film does not depict her faith. Withstanding the storms of life is made better when Christ stands at your side. Her ground would not have shifted so much had she been aware that Christ is the solid rock, a firm foundation against shifting sand.
I know next to nothing about this historical era. I understand that a few alterations were made for filmography’s sake. But I also understand that “The Young Victoria” impressed me more than I ever expected and definitely peaked my interest to learn more about her. The entire film was presented in such a way as to make any viewer curious about Victoria’s real life experiences. The cinematography is stunning, as are the costumes. The entire cast delivered stellar performances, particularly Emily Blunt. I had no idea she was capable of acting on par with Helen Mirren in “The Queen.” Of course, you cannot go wrong with Jim Broadbent, Miranda Richardson, or Paul Bettany. Believe me, if you have any interest at all in British royalty, this film is a perfect place to start. In a word, I loved it.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Mild
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