Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Young Victoria

I've been meaning to watch this one since it was in theaters, but it's hard to get Dan to watch a pre-20th century romance. I admit, I was dying to see the costumes. I heard they were gorgeous in reviews, and watching the Academy Award Best Costume award presentation confirmed that. So when I saw that the movie was available to watch instantly on Netflix. I was thrilled. It took a little convincing to get Dan to agree to watch it, but in the end we both enjoyed it a great deal.

The Young Victoria is a movie in the spirit of Elizabeth. It tells the story of Victoria's rise to power and her courtship with Prince Albert. The plot is very good, and its interesting to see the precarious way a future and sitting monarch has to live her life. She can't really trust anyone, yet she wants so badly to be close with someone. Any misstep can bring a crowd of angry citizens raging outside the gates of her palace.

Emily Blunt is an elegant mix of vulnerability and determination as Victoria. This film shows how under-utilized she is in movies. We got such precious glimpses of her talents in Sunshine Cleaning and The Devil Wears Prada, I'm so glad that director Jean-Marc Vallee took a chance on her. It paid off big time. She is believable as the 18 year old queen, portraying youth and inexperience well without making Victoria seem incompetent. Blunt carries the film very well, and hopefully you'll be as impressed with her as I was. Rupert Friend is charming and supportive as Prince Albert, his love for Victoria and his need to please her is evident and completely disarming. My man Mark Strong (is he in every movie these days?) is a cold calculating viper as Sir John Conroy. Paul Bettany is the picture of cool British reserve as Victoria's right hand man, Lord Melbourne.

The costumes are incredible. Sumptuous and colorful, I swooned almost every time Victoria had on a new dress or Albert was seen in his impeccable outerwear. You just want to reach out and touch the fabric. I can't imagine how it much change one's posture and movements when one wears such costumes. I could happily watch this movie on mute, it so visually gorgeous. Their award was well-deserved
The sets and lighting are also just beautiful.

The direction is very good. This movie feels intimate and genuine, with a few sweeping epic shots to give you the "this happened and it was a big deal" type of feeling. It could have veered into chick-flick territory quite easily, but the characters of Victoria and Albert are so well-developed and the plot has just enough political intrigue that it holds its own as a true biopic. As I said, my wary husband very much enjoyed it, even though the trailers made him hesitant. The trailers really did not do it justice.


Even the pretty ones Sh*t said...

I just saw this movie this weekend. And I really loved it.

Noel said...

It was very good. I wish the trailers had been better and that it had a wider release so that more people could have seen it.