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The Young Victoria

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 13-03-2011

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Description
Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend star in the lavish historical drama, THE YOUNG VICTORIA. Resolved to establish her authority over those who rule in her stead, a young and inexperienced Queen Victoria (Blunt) draws strength from the love of Albert (Friend), the handsome prince who’s stolen her heart. Based on the courtship and early reign of England’s longest-serving monarch, THE YOUNG VICTORIA is a majestic tale of romance, intrigue and power.Amazon.com

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The Young Victoria

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Comments (5)

The film takes a look at the year leading up to and first few years of Victoria on the throne of England. It shows the struggles, trials and tribulations of being a lonely child growing up under strict rule to being a young queen on the English throne, a queen that would have the longest standing reign in all of British history. The film also takes us into the life of a married monarch. A true love story for the ages, the marriage between Victoria, played by Emily Blunt, and Albert, played by Rupert Friend, was arranged prior to their eventual meeting. Their official meeting was scripted, but it was when both dropped the script and began to speak as themselves that the historic romance blossomed. The film is a wonderful depiction of the early life of the queen, showing how she became one of the greatest monarchs in British history.

Although I am not technically trained as an historian, I am as an actor and director and I found this movie worth its price at the theatre. Being one of many costume dramas that I have seen The Young Victoria has been by far most sound in design, screen capture, performance, and set. One must remember, though, that this is just a movie and in order for it to be completely historically accurate is reaching for the stars. This film was an interpretation above all; an inside look at the life of a young queen from an unfamiliar angle, her personal life. Though this is not the first film to do so, it is one of a few films that actually shows the passionate, loving and sexually driven young queen; not the prudish, “we are not amused” old queen we’ve grown to know. My rating for this film stands at a strong four star, and it is recommended that if you are able to let go of the idea of being historically accurate and allow yourself to enter the imagination of film makers you will enjoy The Young Victoria.

Rating: 4 / 5

Well, I came to this one rather dreading it. National critics had given it something of a bashing. But it is super!

Young Victoria was the only surviving issue of several sons of George III (“Farmer George”). Two of her uncles, George IV (who made Brighton Pavilion) and his brother William IV (known as the “Sailor King” and “Silly Billy”), preceded her as monarch. Unfortunately for Victoria, her father, the Duke of Kent, died very early and her mother, the Duchess, fell under the spell of – not to put too fine a point on it – a conman in the shape of (later knighted as “Sir”) John Conroy. Sensing the prospect of power, the two of them raised poor Victoria in a repressive background at Kensington Palace, dubbing their tyrannical regime “The Kensington System.”

This is where the film starts. I loved it. Victoria is played with emotional literacy and verve by Emily Blunt. Miranda Richardson is restrained and blinkered as the Duchess and Mark Strong makes a villainous Conroy, slapping Victoria as she refuses to sign a document making him Regent.

Several of the other actors are so good that their identity in the cast list came as a PLEASANT SURPRISE (hence the title of this review). Jim Broadbent is great as crusty old William IV, asking God to let him hang on until May, when Victoria comes of age. (Thankfully, she did – and banished Conroy from her Court on her accession.) Michael Maloney puts in good work as Sir Robert Peel who Victoria clashes with politically. Paul Bettany is fabulous, if somewhat too young, as Lord Melbourne, Victoria’s adviser and crush.

But the honours go to the dashing Rupert Friend, wonderful as Prince Albert. Albert – German and Royal and not popular with Parliament – is utterly rehabilitated in this film. It’s a beautiful love story in a historical setting. The romance is made all the more poignant by the knowledge that Albert died after he and Victoria had ruled for 20 years. She mourned him for the rest of her life. On the morning afer their wedding night, he lies motionless in bed, almost a precursor of his death, as she passionately surveys him.

The loveliness of romance is underpinned by solid history and politics. The production values are superb, the research admirable, the storytelling gripping.

So what if it’s revisionist in some respects? I won’t be pedantic. But if you see it and like it, carry on to Christopher Hibbert’s superb Queen Victoria: A Personal History and the somewhat less marvellous Becoming Queen (a bit novelettish for me). There’s also a nice older TV version, Victoria & Albert with a cast including Diana Rigg.

Definitely one to enjoy.
Rating: 4 / 5

I recently got to see this film on an airplane as I was flying back to the US from England, rather ironically. I thought I’d enjoy another look at some of the English locations I had fallen in love with so recently, and it worked lke a charm. Stunning cinematography

Emily Blunt was superb as a young Queen Victoria. I know to the history buffs, the historical accuracy is not to be found, but truthfully isn’t everything conjecture? To get reality, you’d have to have been there.

I found it delightful to watch, and it is has further urged me to do more research on Victoria and Albert myself. I found this fresh take on their relationship compelling, and any film that makes me want to dig my heels in and do some reading, gets a positive vote from me.

Well done.
Rating: 4 / 5

I thoroughly enjoyed this film! Emily Blunt gave a stunning performance as Victoria, but Rupert Friend totally steals the show as Albert, in many ways a much more challenging role, I think. Albert was a complex, private person and his relationship with Victoria is all the more interesting, because while he dutifully pursued marriage with Victoria as his destined “career”, he did not expect to fall in love or to be loved in their marriage. Friend does a marvelous job of portraying a very reserved, rational man suprised by his own powerful feelings, and of showing Albert’s very dry but keen sense of humor. Many biographers/historians have suggested that Albert did not love Victoria as she did him, but I think this has much more to do with Albert’s reserved, Germanic public persona than any historical reality, as is amply demonstrated in his letters and Victoria’s journals. Friend does a marvelous job of revealing an Albert who loved Victoria deeply and was willing to make great sacrifices for her, but who also had the strength to stand up to her strong will and fiery temper, and not be pushed around. Both actors obviously did their homework on Victoria and Albert and I think very much captured the essence of their personalities. I also very much enjoyed Jim Broadbent and Harriet Walter’s marvelous, feisty performances as King William and Queen Adelaide.

One aspect of the film I found a bit jarring was the portrayal of Victoria’s relationship with King Leopold and Baron Stockmar as being rather distant and hostile. While Victoria was quite determined to live her own life and not be a pawn in their (or anyone else’s) political schemes, she actually had a very affectionate relationship with her uncle Leopold both before and after her marriage, and Stockmar was a lifelong friend and confidant of both Victoria and Albert and helped them through many of their early marital difficulties. Their manipulative attitude toward Albert and their obsessive focus on grooming him for marriage to Victoria was historically accurate, and Rupert Friend’s portrayal of the young Albert’s attitude toward their “training” is one of the funniest parts of the film.

I highly recommend Stanley Weintraub’s biographies of both Victoria and Albert for those wanting the real historical background for the film. Sarah Ferguson’s book Victoria and Albert: Life at Osborne House is also a well-researched and beautifully illustrated book about their marriage and family life.

There is a bit of minor chronological rearrangement to cram about 5 years of historical material into less than 2 hours, for which I think Julian Fellowes can be easily forgiven, and some slight embellishment of real events for dramatic effect (eg Prince Albert did attempt to shield Victoria in the assassination attempt but was not actually shot, Albert was not present at Victoria’s coronation) but I didn’t find it detracted from the story. Much of the script is actually verbatim historical record (King William’s drunken outburst at the banquet, Conroy’s attempt to force Victoria to sign an order making him Regent) and Fellowes included these bits unaltered, to his credit–they are fabulously dramatic, just as they are.

Costuming is gorgeous and well-researched, the film is a visual treat. A real must-see!
Rating: 5 / 5

Movie critics seem to brush over the section of movie goers that can’t get enough of well done period dramas. The week before I saw YV I watched Avatar. Now, the critics love Avatar–new visual feats, jump scenes, apparent sex and vilification of the political right. What the critics hate is a beautiful well made film with monogamous relationships, real violence and a hero that actual existed. I suppose critics love the imaginative and spur the real, an interesting commentary on our society and its relationship to the beautiful.

This is the best period drama since the 6 hour Pride and Prejudice.
Rating: 5 / 5

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