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Stellar cast anchors gorgeous Young Victoria
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Stellar cast anchors gorgeous Young Victoria

Stellar cast anchors gorgeous Young Victoria by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid - SGN A&E Writer

Young Victoria
Opening December 25


Seeing Young Victoria last week and asking two of the other writers there if they thought the audience was aware of any of the history involved in the film (which is treated with delightful accuracy and even a bit of whimsy, but not too much), I was suddenly glad to have been a beat-upon geek in my high school days. I may have gotten the crap beat out of me or received threats that made me run home from school - even up until my senior year in high school - but I know my English and German history.

Still, even if you were one of the more popular kids and didn't pay attention to history, this film is just so damned good and so lovely to watch that you will most likely enjoy it anyway.

What myself and my life partner (who accompanied me) loved was how Emily Blunt played the role of young Victoria with an understated feistiness and winning childishness that made us believe this is how the young queen (who was 18 at the time she was coronated in the mid-1800s in England) probably behaved.

Not willing to let herself be used as a pawn in power schemes between the court of Belgium and those of her social-climbing relatives (including her mother, played with an Oscar-worthy sharpness by the inimitable Miranda Richardson), Victoria rose to a level of power and respect not achieved by many of her ancestors, especially the women. She chooses the man she loves (devilishly handsome Rupert Friend) - even though she knows this is part of the plan of her relative, the King Leopold of Belgium (Thomas Kretschmann) - and makes her own decisions.

The sweep and drama of English nobility and the undertone of court intrigue in the British court is put on delicious display in Young Victoria, and should thrill any fans of the royals. But at the heart of this court drama is the romance that grows between Victoria and the man she chooses to be her husband, Prince Albert (Friend), and this is delicately handled, given a kind of otherworldliness by director Jean Marc Vallee, who might get an Oscar nod in a fair world. The bottom line is that this is the perfect film for the holidays and should be on many "best-of" lists, including my own.

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