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Review: The Young Victoria (2009)

The Young Victoria (2009)

Directed by: Jean-Marc Vallée

Premise: A biopic of Queen Victoria (Emily Blunt) and her relationship with Prince Albert (Rupert Friend).

What Works: The Young Victoria is a very well made historical drama. The film shows some imagination in its cinematography and the editing is very skillfully done, especially in the first half. Emily Blunt gives a great performance as Victoria and she defies a lot of the stiff posturing and artificial formality that these films often suffer from. Instead, Blunt brings out the youth and humanity of her character as she struggles to assert herself within the rigid confines of royal life. Similar, but not as flashy, is Rupert Friend as Prince Albert. Friend gives his role a lot of vulnerability and he does a lot to sell the romance and the passion without turning up the sentimentality.

What Doesn’t: The Young Victoria lacks urgency or a coherent goal in the political plotline. The film shares similar themes as Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth but The Young Victoria does not aim for a conclusion and so the ending does not wrap anything up. In a closing coda, the film makes a lot of claims about how important Queen Victoria was to Britain and to Europe, but there is very little in the film revealing any of that.

Bottom Line: The Young Victoria is a solid film and in some ways it is above average for its type. Although it would benefit from a stronger political drama, there is a smartness and a sweetness to the film, especially in the romantic relationship, that makes it worthwhile.

Episode: #275 (February 7, 2010)