Friday, December 25, 2009

The Young Victoria


It's certainly a sound plot device to make a biopic of a famous or historical personage in their prime, so to speak, and of course cast an impossibly good looking actor in their prime. Emily Blunt makes a ripe young Queen Victoria but I'll tell you right here and now that even as a lass the real royal was far more homely than Blunt could hope to approximate.
The Young Victoria places itself in the midst of history and royal intrigue. Much is made of Victoria being surrounded by uneasy allies and political vultures, with the best performances coming from Miranda Richardson as the Duchess of Kent, Victoria's estranged mother, and Paul Bettany as Lord Melbourne, Queen Victoria's most trusted advisor but also fighting to keep his political control of Parliament. Of course there's other recognizable actors like Jim Broadbent and Rupert Friend just getting by on their looks.
I'm no expert historian and there were assassination attempts on her life but in no way did Prince Albert ever block a bullet. That being said it works in the dramatic context of the film. If you go in for costume dramas with tony production values The Young Victoria does that trick. But as far as providing exceedingly moving cinema it's no Bright Star.

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