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Young Victoria (10/10)

by Tony Medley

Run time 104 minutes

OK for children.

When I think of Queen Victoria, and I don’t think I’m alone, I think of a fat, unattractive elderly woman. Would you ever think of Emily Blunt? I wouldn’t until I saw this movie.

Blunt has been laboring as a supporting actress, taking second shrift to less talented people who somehow landed the plum roles. Now she finally gets a chance to blossom into the star she should be. Comparing her with Anne Hathaway in “The Devil Wears Prada,” is like comparing an elephant to a mouse, but Hathaway got the part and all the ink, even though Blunt stole the movie.

As Victoria, Blunt finally gets to appear as the beautiful woman she is, a young girl thrust into major league politics, who also falls in love with Prince Albert (Rupert Friend).

She first has to deal with her overbearing mother, Miranda Richardson, and her ambitious advisor, Mark Strong. After her coronation, the party of her trusted advisor, Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany), loses an election and a less cooperative man comes to power, so she marries Prince Albert to help her. Then, after they marry, problems arise because he wants to be an equal partner, an idea not to her liking. This is filmmaking at its best, one that entertains and educates at the same time.

The script (Julian Fellowes) is brilliant, even if Fellowes comes across sometimes as shockingly illiterate. He actually penned the following lines, “All things come to he who waits,” and “worse than him,” when the pronoun in the first should be objective and in the latter nominative. How could any writer be so abysmally ignorant of the rules of grammar and how could these ungrammatical phrases get into the final cut. Didn’t anybody say, “Wait a minute; this doesn’t sound right”? It’s certainly not the Queen’s English.

Also, production values are questionable. They apparently filmed a scene in a rainstorm with a filter because the shadows in the scene show that the sun is shining.

Oh, well, these are relatively minor criticisms in a movie that is clearly one of the best of the year. Other than the sometimes ungrammatical script, it is very well structured and written, and brilliantly directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who lovingly recreates and captures the aura of mid-19th Century English court life.