The Young Victoria

Alexandrina Victoria, the first Empress of India during the British Raj, is usually remembered as a plump old prude monarch, a pale shadow of her former younger self. In The Young Victoria a historical drama, Director Jean-Marc Vallee tries to show the life of Victoria as a young Royal and her journey to becoming the Queen and a wife.  Written by Julian Fellowes, the movie stars Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend in the lead roles. The world premiere was held at the Electric Palace in Bridport, Dorset in South West England, United Kingdom and was released in the US in December 18, 2009.

Not spectacularly dazzling like the usual historical movies, The Young Victoria is beautifully shot and is still quite a sumptuous watch. The movie tells the story of how everybody vies for the attention of Victoria, next in line to the throne, while her own mother The Duchess of Kent keeps her daughter under a very tight grip. “Even a palace can be a prison” says Victoria, who is always under a watchful eye, she cannot even go down her stairs without being escorted by someone and much to her annoyance is not even allowed to read books without supervision. With time the present King William gets old and is bound to die anytime soon, knowing this fact the Duchess of Kent along with her advisor John try to force Victoria into signing papers that let them be regents, but Victoria does not give in to their demands. She shows strength of character, love for her country and the want to rule her nation. Given her tender age, some people are not too sure if Victoria is ready to reign, but surrounded by able advisors she conquers all doubts, learning all that she should and confidently ascends the throne when the King passes away.

Once she is the Queen the political play starts, who is going to win the Queens heart is the question everybody in the court keeps guessing at.  She has to see through the romantic pursuits, which are more political games at power than to her heart. We get to see the emotional tribulations of a barely twenty Girl who is set to be the Queen of Great Britain, that even a great monarch like Victoria is only human, with her own doubts and convictions. Will she find true love? With her short comings, an emotional stance at politics and great love for her country will she be able to win hearts and stay in power? This is what forms the plot of this film.

The movie sticks to historical facts, faltering here and there to make it more dramatic and appealing to the audience.  The sets and costumes are beautiful, the background score mixes well with the story and is pleasant to the ears. The film won the awards for the Best Make-Up and Best Costume Design at the 2010 BAFTAs. Emily Blunt plays the young queen to perfection, overshadowing others but the other actors do justice to their roles and everyone is convincing. If the movie is lacking anything, it is the lack of some excess of drama that should have been there, as it might come across to some as a documentary. A little dull here and there yet a delightful one time watch.

Sneha Jaiswal

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