Monday, January 25, 2010

THE YOUNG VICTORIA / ***



Distributor: Apparition
Release Date: December 18, 2009
Genre: Historical Drama
Running Time: 104 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG

Emily Blunt has gotten noticed in the last couple of years with some dynamic supporting roles in films like “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Dan in Real Life,” and “Charlie Wilson’s War.” Now the 26-year-old is getting her chance to shine, particularly in Jean-Marc Vallée’s historical drama “The Young Victoria.”

Obviously the title role belongs to Blunt, and she is absolutely luminous as the venerable Queen. She plays a Victoria about to turn 18, on the verge of womanhood and Queen-hood at the same time. Her detractors say she is too young, too inexperienced, but when her uncle King William (Jim Broadbent, in an all too brief role) relinquishes the crown to her she accepts it.

At the same time she’s being courted by just about everyone in her life for one reason or another. Her mother the Duchess of Kent (Miranda Richardson) and her confidant Sir John Conroy (Mark Strong) have very specific plans for her and are not shy about trying to force them on her. Others, like Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany – and isn’t it great to see him again?), hide their motives behind intense political machinations.

The person Victoria most responds to is Prince Albert (Rupert Friend), who has been coached on Victoria’s likes and dislikes in an effort to woo her. She sees through him instantly; he respects her for it and starts to act like himself. Anyone who knows their Victorian history (I’m certainly no expert) knows that Victoria and Albert would wed in 1840, about two years after her coronation.

While the movie starts off as more of a political drama, it evolves into a love story as Albert becomes a bigger presence in Victoria’s life. The two would rule together for 21 years until Albert died of Typhoid Fever. Victoria would continue to rule for another 40 years, for a total of 63 years, seven months and two days, which still stands as the longest monarchy in history.

“The Young Victoria” is a solidly interesting movie with excellent acting and terrific atmosphere across the board. It’s not as challenging or deep as something like “Elizabeth” or “The Queen,” but it does show that Emily Blunt may be ready for her close up.

Theater: Marcus Theaters Village Pointe Cinema, Omaha, NE
Time: 1210 pm
Date: January 24, 2010

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