THE YOUNG VICTORIA was another showcase for the capacious talent of Emily Blunt, yet apart from some good reviews and a few awards, the 2009 production failed to find sufficient crowds to match its outlay. Directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, written by upper-class savant Julian Fellowes, it sympathetically covers the early years of England’s long-reigning Queen, who put enough personal stamp on the planet in her 63-years of waving that an entire Age was coined after her. Not the stout and dowdy Victoria more familiar from pictures and ideals, here we get an attractive, passionate, sensitive and emotionally besieged young woman, contested at every turn by a possessive mother and ruthless consorts, finding her chief comfort in her love for the thoughtful Prince Albert (Rupert Friend, excellent choice).
“Some people are born more fortunate than others. Such was the case with me. But as a child I was convinced of quite the opposite. What little girl does not dream of growing up as a princess? But some palaces are not at all what you would think. Even a palace can be a prison”
An Oscar winner for Costume Design, nominated for Art Direction and Makeup, a return of $27,410,000 was a major loss against an expended $35,000,000. Director Vallee doesn’t let the production design overwhelm the personal and he moves a fairly fast 105 minutes. Thanks to the acting it more than holds attention, and you end up caring for these figures so remote by time and class. I tend to be a bit rebellious when it comes to the entitled (I don’t think the guillotine need rust in museums), but Blunt’s portrayal and the deft screenplay’s presentation of Victoria’s dilemmas won me over. Top supporting players: Miranda Richardson, Paul Bettany, Jim Broadbent, Mark Strong, Thomas Kretschmann and Julian Glover. For an acceptable jot of insider cheek, a lady-in-waiting is played by Princess Beatress (Mountbatten-Windsor), the great-great-great-great granddaughter of Victoria.