The Young Victoria–Movie Review

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3 Stars
It is probably fair to say that Queen Victoria saved the British monarchy, mainly by NOT being a national embarrassment, unlike her immediate predecessors. She also presided over the British Empire during the time when it grew to its maximum power and extent. This all makes her fascinating to the sort of people who like BBC dramas.

The Young Victoria is not a BBC production but it is still a typical offering in the “Masterpiece Theater” genre: serious, elegant and very British. If you like that sort of thing you will probably like this one.

The young Princess Victoria (Emily Blunt) was raised in near-isolation by her overbearing mother, the Duchess of Kent (Miranda Richardson) and her slimy advisor Sir John Conroy (Mark Strong). They hoped to keep her dependent on them so that when she inherited the throne they could rule England in her name, but she stubbornly resisted.

She was aided at first by Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany) the good-looking but devious Prime Minister. Later she found a more reliable ally in her cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Rupert Friend), whom she married. Albert was young, handsome and straight-laced, but also an idealistic social reformer whose influence was to leave England a more humane and democratic place.

Naturally the movie focuses on the romance between Victoria and Albert. In the history of a royal family that has had more scandals than happy marriages, theirs is certainly the most impressive love story.

Nevertheless if you are interested in the history of the period you would probably do better to rent the 2001 BBC TV series Victoria and Albert which was a bit stricter about maintaining historical accuracy. The Young Victoria mostly sticks to actual historical events, but it is not above rearranging and exaggerating them for dramatic effect.