Movie review: "The Young Victoria"
From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman. 3 of 4 stars. (Long live Emily Blunt.)
With her wide, bright smile and big, shimmering eyes, 26-year-old English beauty Emily Blunt bears little resemblance to our most familiar image of Queen Victoria, the stern-looking aged widow dressed in black.
That’s rather the point of “The Young Victoria,” the entertaining if uneven period drama starring Blunt, who has earned a well-deserved Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of Britain’s longest-ruling monarch.
Strong performances, gorgeous sets and costumes and appealing chemistry between Blunt and Rupert Friend, who plays Prince Albert, allow the film to sweep willing viewers back to 1836, the year before Victoria took the throne.
“Even a palace can be a prison,” Victoria remarks as the film opens at the end of her dreadful childhood. With Victoria’s father dead, her mother, the conniving Duchess of Kent (Miranda Richardson), and the duchess’ manipulative adviser Sir John Conroy (Mark Strong) have raised her in ruthlessly controlled conditions under the guise of protecting her. Her mother and Conroy are determined to let no one else influence Victoria while they try to make her sign a regency order that would give them shared powers when the teen becomes queen.
Victoria staunchly refuses to sign, but she is kept away from other youths, largely confined to an isolated palace and must adhere to the harsh Kensington Rules, which dictate that she must to share a bedroom with her mother and can’t even walk down the stairs without holding an adult’s hand. Her doting uncle, King William IV (the wonderful Jim Broadbent), is furious that his niece is prohibited to come to his court.
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