Friday, January 1, 2010

The Young Victoria

The Film: The Young Victoria

The Actors: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Jim Broadbent, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, etc

The Dealio: Let's call this 'Victoria: The Early Years'. Prendie is convinced that this is the first in a 3 picture portrayal. After all, can one ever get too much Victoria?
We have the opportunity to see her as a small child, constantly being groomed for 'the job' by her mother and her mother's lover, an Irish upstart whose sole goal in life is to grab the bux and the power and roll around in both for the bulk of his life. Into Victoria's young life come a confusing confliction of male 'advisers', starting with the aforementioned Irish upstart, Conroy. Next is her uncle, King William, who sees her as the best of a bad lot, but can't get her mom to bring her to court more often than once every year (why not? He is, after all, the King!). Next up is Lord Melbourne, her first prime minister, but certainly not her last: using Victoria to advance his own agenda, and cutting her off from everyone who would deny him. Then Bobby Peel and the Duke of Wellington march through with barely a ripple on the surface to indicate how important they were to the formation of the image most of us have of Victoria: a tight-laced tartar in white bun and black attire, constantly disappproving of the state to which this old world has fallen. She is tossed between these men like a particularly desirable bone as she tries to find her way, and is reduced to near-surrender when a new male shows up on the scene. Albert. Thing is, is he truly interested in Victoria, the woman? Or is he serving solely as an undercover spy/puppet for her uncle, King Leopold of Belgium (AKA Leo the Nutter)?
Albert, starting out as an unenthusiastic gopher for Leopold, blossoms, over time, into the force to be reckoned with of Victoria's dreams. Does he go along with her unquestioningly? Absolutely not. Do they fight? Absolutely. Do they fall in L-U-V love? Absolutely. Through changes in government, an assassination attempt, 9 kiddies and the Irish Potato Famine, the Young Victoria documents, not only the massive affairs of international politics, but also the tiny moments of intimacy and passion which molded Vic into the most dominant female royal since Liz 1.
And, oh! those clothes!

The Grading Session: 4.91 pengies out of 5. An incorrect gun was used, I am told, in one scene. The actors all do a terrific job, although I think VR should feel flattered by her portrayal by Miz Blunt. Everyone was spot-on and perfect, throughout. I also give thumbs up to the effort to catch us up with the remaining few (50+) years of Vic's reign, especially (spoiler alert! Oh, come on! you know this, right?)- Prince Albert died at the age of 42- 20 years into the marriage.

Lessons Learned: Well, actually, this is a lesson I haven't yet learned, but am longing to(which): What turned Victoria from an avid participant in what she called 'the marriage deed' to a person who, singlehandedly, embodies, to this day, the ultimate in sexual repression and prudery? Oh, wait, I think I just got it: the longing for a miracle to restore her dearest consort to her, and a jealous and vindictive streak unleashed when the aforementioned miracle did not eventuates. Thoughts? Anyone?

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