The Young Victoria
- Paul Dale
- 5 March 2009
Young Queen Victoria (Emily Blunt) kicks against the royal pricks but is tamed by a man whose name has become synonymous with penile piercing.
Who would of thought it. Miserable old Queen Victoria was the proto feminist. As a young lady she fought her male dominated court and didn’t so much win as cause near national insurrection. She listened to fools and sacked bigger fools. Was she just another inbred royal or was she a gifted and caring monarch who loved her country as much as she loved her boring husband?
These are just a few of the many questions Julian Fellowes asks in his typically expansive and witty screenplay for The Young Victoria, directed by French Canadian Jean-Marc Vallée, who made 2005’s delightful familial comedy CRAZY.
Produced by Martin Scorsese and featuring the cream of British cinema (Jim Broadbent, Mark Strong, Miranda Richardson, Paul Bettany), The Young Victoria feels like the real deal and is in a different league from Saul Dibb’s underpowered The Duchess. Scorsese is in Powell and Pressburger mode here and there are certainly some impressive set pieces (the opening tableaux with Lincoln Cathedral doubling as Westminster Abbey is particularly impressive). The trouble is Vallée’s uneven hold on the material. He tempers grandeur and sweep with scenes so flat they need to prised off the mahogany trim, and his penchant for nonsensical freeze frames in the middle of key scenes is just ill-judged. Still Blunt and Rupert Friend make an attractive royal ‘we’ and the film is rarely dull.
General release, Fri 6 Mar.