Directed by Jean-Marc Vallee

 Mark Strong, Emily Blunt, Miranda Richardson, Paul Bettany



The Young Victoria



“The Young Victoria” is a film very much like “Elizabeth,” the brilliant 1998 biography that had the great Cate Blanchett in the role that made her a star.  “Victoria” also takes a young girl on a journey that goes from willful teenager under the thumb of her mother and her would-be regent Sir John Conroy (the perfectly evil Mark Strong) to inheriting the crown of England and then courting and marrying her cousin Prince Albert.


Emily Blunt is Victoria, the girl and the queen, and like Blanchett she is also well cast in the role.  She knows how to make an almost imperceptible smile or frown mean a great deal to those around her, and the film is well cast in the other roles as well.  Her weak mother is played without any actorish mannerisms by Miranda Richardson, and as she inherits the role of queen from her uncle King William (an aging Jim Broadbent) her first infatuation is with the would-be Prime Minister Lord Melbourne (a handsome Paul Bettany).  But as she grows more comfortable in her new role, she allows herself to be smitten by Prince Albert, nicely played by Rupert Friend.  Although he died just twenty years later, after giving her nine children, she shows us – at least in this film – how genuine was her love for him.


As is usual in this kind of British film, the costumes, the sets and settings (the various palaces, Westminster Abbey, the royal coaches and many sumptuous interiors) are ravishing.  Director Jean-Marc Vallee, for whom this is his breakout film – interestingly enough, very much like Shekhar Kapur, the director of “Elizabeth” – has known just how to show us this Victoria and her world without trying for heroics or false dramatics.  In Victoria’s day there wasn’t the kind of frightening war or religious conflict that the young Elizabeth faced.  The world was a comforting and placid place in the early nineteenth century.  Victoria lived and ruled until the twentieth century and of course gave her name to a world that lasted almost as long.  “The Young Victoria” does at least some justice to her name.