When I think of Queen Victoria, I think of a fat, unattractive elderly woman, and I don’t think I’m alone. 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” (2006) 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 woman 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 mother’s ambitious advisor, Mark Strong. After her coronation, the party of Victoria’s trusted advisor, Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany), loses an election and a less cooperative man comes to power, so she decides to marry Prince Albert, whom she has sent home to Europe, to help her. Then, after they marry, problems arise because he wants to be an equal partner, an idea not to her liking.
A movie like this is a terrific way to learn something about history in an entertaining way. The script (Julian Fellowes) is brilliant, even if Fellowes comes across sometimes as shockingly illiterate. He actually penned the following line, “All things come to he who waits,” when the pronoun should be objective. How could this ungrammatical phrase 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. It looks as if they filmed a scene in a rainstorm with a filter because the shadows in the scene show that the sun is shining brightly.
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.