Monday, February 22, 2010

Young Victoria

When we went to see The Hurt Locker on Saturday, the theater showed a preview of Young Victoria, which inspired us to return on Sunday afternoon. The story starts during Victoria's childhood in Kensington Palace. Her education is in the hands of her mother, the German-born Duchess of Kent, and her conniving and arrogant secretary Sir John Conroy. The young princess lives isolated from everything and everyone, especially from her father’s family.

Being the heiress of the throne of England and underage, there are many who would wish to control her. For example, Victoria is required to walk down staircases holding onto the hand of an adult just in case someone would try to push her down the stairs--at 18 years old in her own house! Conroy tries to force her to name her mother Regent so that he can rule through the duchess. But Victoria, much more determined and perceptive than he thought, refuses and distances herself from her mother. Leopold I, King of Belgium and uncle of the young woman, also tries to influence her and his approach proves to be much more effective: Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg is sent to England as a candidate for marriage. He is serious and cultivated, and is sure they would have nothing in common. It doesn’t take long to see these two understand each other very well. The chess game between them is a lovely and telling scene.


The following years as a queen, Victoria tries to educate herself to the tasks and duties expected from a sovereign guided by the scheming but oh-so-charming Lord Melbourne. Some of her choices and inexperience have dreadful consequences.

Emily Blunt is a talented actress but her good looks don’t help her portray the small and energetic queen in the most faithful manner. While considered pretty in her younger years, Victoria was never a beauty. Instead,Victoria impressed her subjects with her radiant personality and her wit.

The real jewel of this movie is, without any doubt, Rupert Friend. I wasn’t a fan of him after seeing him as George Wickham in Pride and Prejudice (2005), but here he has the chance to shine! Intelligent, passionate and with an unshaken common sense, he is the perfect co-sovereign, even if he has some tendencies to control his wife.

The same can be said about actor Mark Strong and his Sir John Conroy. He brought all the aggressiveness and lust for power of Conroy, adding a hint of madness and even some fear towards the end.


Overall, this is a charming story with a lovely photography, gorgeous costumes and excellent performances that certainly would charm any period drama fan. There are some historical inaccuracies like the scene when Prince Albert saves the queen and is shot (actually nobody was hurt and the Prince didn't tried to save anybody’s life), but these changes only add more drama to the plot without actually spoiling the story.

1 comment:

Ray's Cowboy said...

Love to see it.
Thanks for sharing it.