Posted by: jeannineatkins | January 13, 2010

Young Victoria

This movie was a lovely escape into an imperfect world brightened by love. Victoria, played by Emily Blunt, (very different from her role in The Devil Wears Prada), and Albert (Rupert Friend) were both a sight for sore winter eyes and brought lots of nuance to their lines. Of course the costumes were a delight, and I assume these were the real palaces, full of gold and crystal and no towering piles of books on the tables.

As a writer of historical fiction, I admired how some historical footnotes were developed. Victoria’s dolls seem eerily silent. As young Victoria thumps the iron bars of a gate like any child, then peers between the bars, we get the feeling of her being imprisoned in a gorgeous place. Her childhood wish to be good is such a worn note in history that it’s usually mocked, but here the actress makes it new as she breathes her hope into a pillow. A palace rule was that the queen-to-be must hold someone’s hand while descending the elegant staircase to keep her from harm. As a teen, we see her vexed or I’ve-had-it expressions, her well-trained posture, as she repeats this, then how, on becoming queen, she walks down the stairs alone. With lovely close-ups, we can almost smell the sealing wax broken on letters, before Albert calmly asks, “Will I ever be able to read a letter first?” We know how things will turn out, but the tension between royal machinations and sincere feeling kept me so riveted, I was shocked when the summary ending, with its touching glimpse of one of Albert’s jackets, started rolling.

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Responses

  1. I’ve got this movie on my list of want-to-sees. A few years ago, I was in the V&A museum. There are plaster casts–lifesize–of famous statues from around the world.
    When Victoria would come to see them, special fig leaves were placed over offending parts. Quite giggle-worthy.

  2. Oh, the era when piano legs, or “limbs,” were often covered. Yuck. But you forget that when you see this movie. Which may go for love story more than absolute accuracy, but hey, they had nine children and then she dressed in black; there was clearly something there behind the covering up clothing.

  3. I used to think she was so prudish, but one of her teen aged cousins in Germany was impregnated by the footman who carried the light in front of her on the way to bed, due to the family protocol rules, and Queen Victoria took her in when the family threw her out as a fallen woman.
    She loved Albert and wore black for the rest of her life after he died.
    She also refused to let a law be passed against being a lesbian when they passed the anti homosexual laws on the ground that “women don’t do things like that!” (May be an apocryphal story.)
    She was a very interesting character and I look forward to the movie.

  4. This sounds like my kind of movie! Thanks for mentioning it, because I hadn’t heard of it before. 🙂 Off to Netflix!

  5. Thanks for sharing. Now I want to see this.

  6. That was a good summation of her complexities. Thank you! I’d never heard the story about her taking in the cousin. That’s touching.

  7. It’s just in the independent theaters now, but put it on the Netfix list for soon. I think it may appear in some of the award shows soon, too, with everyone hoping for another look at the male lead.

  8. Everyone I know who’s seen it has liked it. A great escape while also feeling like you learned a little bit.

  9. I’m eager to see this (though it may take me a while, as usual). Some of it was filmed near our new house!

  10. I think you’ll like this, Amy!

  11. Okay, it sounds like one to put on my list. But no books on the tables?!


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