Title: The Young Victoria
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Released: March 6, 2009 (UK)
Starring: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent, Mark Strong
I've decided that, for my blog's sake, it might be wise to include things other that book reviews. Gasp! It's a big step, I know. That's why I'm going to take baby steps and review a historical period piece. It's still in my comfort zone, yet a change.
So, here we go. This movie had been on my radar for quite awhile. I'm not sure if it was ever actually released in the U.S. (at least anywhere near me it wasn't), so it took me a long time to find it. Last May it was shown on a movie channel my school's cable provider offers, but my roommate was vacuuming the whole time (grr), and then I went home for two months! I finally rented it on iTunes a few weeks ago.
The movie, for obvious reasons, focuses on the young Queen Victoria (portrayed wonderfully by
Emily Blunt). It begins about a year before she becomes queen and shows the struggle that she had with her mother, the Duchess of Kent (played by Miranda Richardson), and Sir John Conroy (Mark Strong) over her future power. We are also introduced to Prince Albert (Rupert Friend) and the beginnings of his and Victoria's love affair. When she becomes queen, she encounters many new problems (rebels, more power struggles, and ultimately a new husband). We end the movie right after the birth of her first child, Vicky.
I must say that I LOVE Emily Blunt as Victoria! The fact that she's one of my favorite actresses may bias me (I adored her in Henry VIII as Katherine Howard and in The Devil Wears Prada), but she'd gotten rave reviews for this role as well. Other than actually resembling Victoria, she portrays her with such elegance, but with fire and power as well. Since historically Victoria grew to be a rather rotund woman (almost as wide as she was tall), I don't think I could ever picture Emily Blunt like that....I guess there won't be a sequel, The Old Victoria. :)
One of my favorite parts of this film were the costumes. As a historical geek, this part of period pieces, along with scenery, fascinates me. Not surprising, these costumes are GORGEOUS! I believe that the costume designer for The Young Victoria won an Oscar; I will heartily say that it was well deserved! All of the dresses on the left were worn by Emily Blunt and Miranda Richardson in the movie, along with many, many others. (On a related note, did you know that Miranda Richardson played Rita Skeeter in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? The two characters are very much alike in both of these movies). My personal favorite dress is the blueish-purple one in the front. Actually, I don't know, I like almost all of them!
Well, every rose has its thorn. I guess I need to talk about some of the bad aspects. It seemed like they crammed a lot of history into a very short movie (it's just over 1 1/2 hours long). As a result, it also felt as if the big climatic moments (in particular her coronation) were extremely rushed. This should be the best moment in the entire film! Victoria has overcome her enemies and is about to begin one of the greatest reigns of England, but only 10 seconds is dedicated to it. This is also the case with her and Albert's wedding. Like I said before, it's a pretty short movie. When the end credits popped up, I stared at the screen and went, "That's it? I want MORE!" It was a bit of a letdown.
All in all, this was a lovely film. It was beautifully made and covered a very interesting piece of England's history. I would recommend this to history lovers, of course, but I'm positive that non-history lovers will love it as well. There is plenty of drama and romance to satisfy other genre lovers.