Sparks fly when spirited Elizabeth Bennet meets single, rich, and proud Mr. Darcy. But Mr. Darcy reluctantly finds himself falling in love with a woman beneath his class. Can each overcome their own pride and prejudice?
Dominated by her possessive mother and her bullying consort, Conroy, since childhood, teen-aged Victoria refuses to allow them the power of acting as her regent in the last days of her uncle William IV's rule. Her German cousin Albert is encouraged to court her for solely political motives, but, following her accession at age eighteen, finds he is falling for her and is dismayed at her reliance on trusty Prime Minister Melbourne. Victoria is impressed by Albert's philanthropy, which is akin to her own desire to help her subjects. However, her loyalty to Melbourne, perceived as a self-seeker, almost causes a constitutional crisis, and it is Albert who helps restore her self-confidence. She proposes and they marry, Albert proving himself not only a devoted spouse, prepared to take an assassin's bullet for her, but also an agent of much-needed reform, finally endorsed by an admiring Melbourne.Written by
don @ minifie-1
Just before the credits roll, the following text appears: "Victoria remains the longest reigning British Sovereign. To date." Queen Victoria was the longest reigning British sovereign as well as the longest reigning female sovereign until 2015. Queen Elizabeth II now claims both titles. See more »
In the film, Victoria and Melbourne are portrayed as similar in age, apparently to hint at a flirtation between them. Melboune was 38 years older than Queen Victoria, and acted as something of a father figure to the young monarch. See more »
The cinematic interests in the British monarchy continues with The Young Victoria (1837 to 1901), after having seen in recent years, the efforts with Keira Knightley's The Duchess, Cate Blanchett's Elizabeth films, and Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman's take on the Boleyn sisters with The Other Boleyn Girl. More contemporary stories would include Helen Mirren's award winning portrayal of The Queen on the current reign of Queen Elizabeth II at the turn of Princess Diana's death.
Each of the films mentioned featured stunning actresses with acting gravitas (ok, so some may dispute Johansson) or were the flavour of their moment, and each film had a definitive moment in their historical character's legacy that it becomes a no brainer to have those events featured, and in fact Elizabeth had enough to span two films. However, The Young Victoria, as the title already suggests, is a lite-version of the young queen's life, and if you're looking for that definitive event, or the staple political intrigue that plague all royal households and their dealings with shady, self-serving politicians, unfortunately there's nothing of depth here.
That's not to say The Young Victoria is without. Directed by Canadian Jean-Marc Vallee (best known for CRAZY) and written by Julian Fellowes, this film chronicles in very plain terms, ,the life and times of Victoria (Emily Blunt, soon becoming the new It girl) when she was a child, the troubles she faced before Coronation such as the eagerness of her mom The Duchess of Kent (Miranda Richardson) and her adviser Sir John Conroy (Mark Strong) to appoint themselves as joint-Regent to her throne, as already planned for by reigning King William (Jim Broadbent). As if that wasn't enough, the political power play enters the picture with Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany) being a Prime Minister-in-waiting trying to gain the trust of the new Queen, and subtly plants his own trusted allies into positions within the palace. On one hand you'd understand the need for a young, and new Queen to have trusted people in key positions, but on the other, are they really acting in her interests, or in the interests of others?
Even this angle of intrigue creeps into her romantic story with Prince Albert (Rupert Friend), where their relationship forms the bulk of the second half of the film, and pretty much everything already included in the trailers. For both, they've been brought up under the influence of others, and told each step of the way exactly what to do. Even their union may seem like a firm registration of an alliance, if not for both lovers recognizing their common need to establish their own grounding, and to do so with the help of each other. Instead of being pawns, there's this constant search and probing of opportunities to break out of stifling, and at times absurd, rules and regulations. Trust also becomes a much valued commodity, and loyalty too can be traded for wanting to set the slate clean.
However, all these themes become but a breeze through the narrative, from childhood to romance, marriage and children. In fact, there's so much fast-forwarding here, especially the last few minutes filled with inter-titles, that it actually leaves the audience wanting for more, and room of course for another movie, which I suspect would probably not see the light of day, but perhaps a television series might pick up on the film's response, and come out with a mini-series or such. It's a pity that all the effort here in ensuring the gorgeous costumes, sets and art direction would be confined to a film that's quite lightweight in theme and brief mention of issues, that they don't really challenge the protagonists in order to allow for some overcoming of character-defining adversary.
With its star-studded cast, one would expect more, but one would be left wanting more instead. Recommended for those who are ever curious about Kings and Queens in the British Monarchy, only as a complement to other more engaging stories available in the other films already mentioned.
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