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The Young Victoria

We all think the same thing on hearing the name of Queen Victoria, England’s longest-reigning monarch (at least until Elizabeth II manages to hold her place for seven more years): the dowdy old woman who ruled over an era of stilted manners and sexual repression. But as sure as the era to which her name is attached produced an enormous industry for pornography, so was there more to the woman than meets the eye. And hence The Young Victoria, which seeks (within the reasonably decorous standards of a PG rating) to show the young queen as a woman of headstrong judgment, independent thinking, and hormonal distractions. The first half of this British film follows the political machinations surrounding the teenaged Victoria (Emily Blunt) as the day approaches when she, the only child among King William IV (a delightfully blustery Jim Broadbent) and his two brothers, will take the throne. She is raised in seclusion under the watchful eye of her mother (Miranda Richardson) and her power-hungry aide (Mark Strong) to ensure that no one else gets any influence over her. Nonetheless, she manages to cast them aside when she ascends to the throne at the age of 18. The second half details her wooing by and wedding to Prince Albert (Rupert Friend, so unstudly that you can’t help but root for him over his main rival, Paul Bettany’s Lord Melbourne). Fans of the genre will find plenty of pageantry and finery on display amid the castles and ancient manors that are the prime reason why movies like this aren’t made in the US. The court intrigues are a bit confusing, but the film picks up interest as it goes along, to the point where I was disappointed when it ended at barely more than 90 minutes.

m. faust

Watch the trailer for The Young Victoria

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