Film review: The Young Victoria (2009), directed by Jean-Marc Vallée
If something’s written by Julian Fellowes, it’s bound to be good, right? Oh yeah. The Young Victoria is about Queen Victoria (1819-1901), and tells a surprising story. Surprising at least for those of us not previously acquainted with the history of the British monarchy. Perhaps because we’re foreigners. Then again, so was she!
Young Victoria (Emily Blunt) was raised to be a queen from an early age, although she perhaps didn’t realise it as a child. The reason why she could not walk unaccompanied down the stairs was more of an inconvenience for her than she saw it as an attempt at keeping her out of harm’s way, for instance.
At a young age, she takes over the throne when her uncle, King William IV (Jim Broadbent) suddenly dies. Everyone wants a piece of the new regent, but Victoria wants to do things her way, which doesn’t always sit very well with everyone else, including her own mother (Miranda Richardson) and her mother’s aide, Sir John Conroy (Mark Strong).
King Leopold (Thomas Kretschmann) of Belgium wants her to marry well, make her a family ally, and sends over a German relation of his, Prince Albert (Rupert Friend). Much to Victoria’s own surprise, she finds the young German fellow very agreeable indeed …
Also starring Paul Bettany as Lord Melbourne, Julian Glover as the Duke of Wellington, Genevieve O’Reilly as Lady Flora Hastings and even real-life royal Princess Beatrice cameos (uncredited) as a lady in waiting.
Nine children they had together. Nine! And when Queen Victoria wasn’t busy delivering babies (or making them), she ruled the country, and even reformed the country, working together as a team with her darling husband. It’s awe-inspiring. And just plain inspiring, to be honest.
Well-acted, well-scripted and also very fascinating. The Young Victoria tells not just the story of a young woman eager to serve her country to the best of her ability, but also gives a very human feel to the chubby old “We are not amused” woman so often seen on pictures. I find myself having a new-found admiration for the woman.
4.5 out of 5 Germans.