out of Five
Running time: 100
Hugely enjoyable biopic with a great script, impressive production design and delightful performances from Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend and a strong supporting cast.
What's it all about?
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallee from a script by Julian Fellowes, The Young Victoria stars Emily Blunt as, well, the young Queen Victoria. After a few brief scenes with Victoria as a young girl (Michaela Brooks), the story properly begins with Victoria as a teenager (Blunt), whose easily-led mother (Miranda Richardson) is conspiring with her scheming husband (Mark Strong as Sir John Conroy) to prevent Victoria from becoming Queen on the grounds that she's too young.
However, the favouritism of King William (Jim Broadbent), coupled with her strong relationship with the Prime Minister (Paul Bettany as Lord Melbourne) ensures that Victoria's path to the throne proceeds according to plan. Meanwhile, Victoria is pressured to take a husband and finds herself falling for her cousin Albert (Rupert Friend), despite the objections of those around her.
Emily Blunt effortlessly anchors the film with a wonderful performance that's delightful to watch; she also has terrific chemistry with Rupert Friend, who gives an equally assured performance that shows why he's fast becoming one of Britain's best young actors. There's also splendid work from a to-die-for supporting cast that includes Paul Bettany, Jim Broadbent, Miranda Richardson and Mark Strong.
Fellowes' script is extremely good, detailing the tension of the political wrangling that surrounds Victoria, while also presenting an emotionally engaging love story and offering intriguing glimpses of the world outside the Palace gates. That said, he's not above a little tweak for dramatic effect – the film's most dramatic moment (involving Albert and an assassin's bullet) didn't happen quite the way it's portrayed on screen.
In short, The Young Victoria is a highly enjoyable historical drama that deserves to be a huge hit, thanks to an engaging script and superb performances from Blunt and Friend. Highly recommended.
The Young Victoria (PG)