Saturday, June 5, 2010
The Young Victoria
I just saw the film The Young Victoria starring Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend about two days ago. It was a beautiful film. Most people think of Queen Victoria as the stern old dowager draped in black and surrounded by her children. This film takes the audience back to when Victoria was only 17, under the strict control of her mother and her mother's advisor. Victoria was not even allowed to walk up the stairs without someone there to hold her hand. She is spirited and will not be bullied into sharing power with her mother by agreeing to a regency.
Her uncle, the king, dies when she is barely 18 and she must begin her rule. Though she suffers from some misguidance by Lord Melbourne (played by the lovely Paul Bettany), she gains her bearing.
Most importantly to this story, along the way she marries Prince Albert. They meet before she inherits the throne, and though Albert is thrown at her originally to please King Leopold of Belgium, Albert falls in love with Victoria and she with him. The story follows them into the difficulties of their early married life. The struggle to run a country and start a family is one where Albert is faced with a woman who is his wife, but is above all the Queen. After her oppressive childhood, she is afraid to give up any power even to someone who loves her.
The film is very well done, with beautiful costumes and scenery as well as clever dialogue that creates well developed characters. Though I'm not one to gush over romance, the relationship between Victoria and Albert is touching and it's easy to care about the two of them and envy their devotion to one another. I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys British history or just likes an intelligently done love story.