Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Young Victoria - Movie Review

By Moira Sullivan

Its hard to imagine that Queen Victoria was ever young, so austere was the matriarch that gave the Victorian Era its signature. But not only was Victoria young, but she was an independent and intelligent regent , at least that is the impression that is given to the recent release of The Young Victoria. The film directed by the Canadian Jean Marc Valée who entertained us with C.R.A.Z.Y three years ago a musical film about a family in Quebec during the 60's and 70's is now the successful director of a period piece that was two years in the making. The Young Victoria stars Emily Blunt as Victoria, probably one of the most talented young actresses of today. She brings to the role an insightful interpretation of the woman who was raised to be a regent, pushed to the side by older men and held back by her mother the Duchess of Kent played by Miranda Richardson and her abusive advisor Sir John Conroy. A young woman seems especially vulnerable and an object of prey and Blunt is able to convey this fragility well. Her mother and advisor are fortunately at odds with the reigning king William, played by James Broadbent who wants Victoria to be his successor. Everyone wants a piece of the crown, and suitors call on her as the crown princess but strangely enough she falls for a man that has the outstanding virtues of patience , sensibility and faith in her abilities, Albert of the Saxon Duchies, admirably played by Rupert Friend. Once installed Victoria puts her trust in Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany) who eventually agrees that Albert who she later marries has a say in regal manners. The intrigues of the British crown and court are sufficiently explained so that the players are well introduced, and as such allow Victoria to blossom. Eventually Victoria shows that she has the skill and grace to be a leader despite becoming a regent at such a young age, though history has a few younger regents such as Queen Christina who ascended the thrown at the age of five in 17th century Sweden. Emily Blunt was the guest of the recent Mill Valley Film Festival in September and told the audience that she was surprised at how candid Victoria was about the details of her marriage to Albert and she devoured her diaries in preparation for the role. Of interest is the endurance of the royal marriage, and when Albert died at the early age of 42, Victoria mourned him for the rest of her life. Valée shows the vitality of the relationship and a realistic picture of the pressures of the young regent and her Prince consort in a well crafted film.

© 2009 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 12/23/09
Movie Magazine International

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