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The Young Victoria (2009)

Love rules all

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 100 minutes

US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: PG

For the majority of Brits, the idea of watching a film depicting Queen Victoria as a sexed-up fox is a bit like being told your Grandma’s sexual history over tea and biscuits. We have grown up seeing the same image of her in textbooks – portly, dressed in black and looking like she’s just been slapped with a wet fish. So, in theory, her and Emily Blunt’s version just don’t connect.

Remarkably, Jean-Marc Vallée (a Canadian) has made a touchingly human film. Queen Victoria (Blunt) is made to seem less godlike than normal as she is portrayed with a sense of humour, feelings and a disturbing obsession with a dog. Her fledgling relationship with Prince Albert (Rupert Friend) is so genuinely played out that it is easy to see why she was in mourning for decades following his death. Lord Melbourne, Albert’s rival, is played with appropriate devious smarm by a refreshingly decent Paul Bettany. Different themes are interestingly explored, like tug-of-wars over the queen, the popularity of the monarchy and how exactly do you have a lover’s tiff when your wife is the ruler of the world’s largest Empire? It’s done with admirable intelligence and doesn’t shy away from going into the ins and outs of the wranglings of High Society and Parliament.

As faithful and refreshing this film is, it isn’t going to be a lot of people’s cup of tea. The rigidly Bronte-esque world of the Victorian Upper Classes does not open itself up to much fun – just a lot of rumour and innuendo. It is safe to say that no-one is going to try and style their hair with semen or fall over outrageously but instead pithily denounce each other. It can also be quite complicated for those who have grown up in a republic as there are many different roles played by the protagonists. Give The Young Victoria a chance and you will be rewarded with a clever and lavishly re-created film.

It's Got: Intelligence, lavish settings, a good British cast

It Needs: A bit of background knowledge to follow the plot


A nice period romance that somehow makes Queen Victoria sexy and doesn’t insult the audience’s intelligence.