Reviewed by: Kevin J. Burk
“Mrs. Brown” is an engaging historical drama that takes the moviegoer back in time to the days of Britain’s most celebrated nineteenth-century monarch, Victoria. Though lacking the fast pace of most modern dramas, I found this to be a fascinating look at a historically overlooked aspect of the queen’s life.
The film tells of the charming and unusual friendship between the queen and Brown, her late husband’s Scottish groomsman. Following her husband’s death Victoria is inconsolable and refuses to come out of isolation to resume her public duties. One of the queen’s assistants decides to call on Brown to visit the queen, with hopes of lifting her spirits. At first the prim and proper Victoria and the gruff, outspoken Scot, grate on each other. In time, however, they develop a close and intimate friendship. Eventually, Victoria comes to depend on Brown so much that even her own son must go through Brown to have access to the queen. The politicians, as a result, refer to her as “Her Majesty, Mrs. Brown.”
Co-produced by the BBC, this film had excellent production design, capturing the look and feel of Victorian England. Also, Judi Dench and Scottish comedian Billy Connolly give excellent performances.
This film contains little that is objectionable, apart from a few instances of profanity, brief non-sexual nudity and some brief violence. The moral themes of devotion and duty were strongly evident in the story, although no references to God or faith were included. Overall, it was an understated, but interesting, picture of history as it happened.
Year of Release—1997