Young Victoria is a great little period piece about an English Monarch, Queen Victoria , whom I know very little about. All I knew about Queen Victoria prior to this film was that she is the monarch that founded several different monarch dynasties in Europe (she had nine kids) and that she carried the allele for hemophilia and that is how Czar Nicholas II’s son inherited it. It is a classic example of sex linked genetic traits and one I use in my classes quite often. For me, it was nice to learn more about this Monarch’s life through such a well done and lovely film. Watching this movie has inspired to read more about Queen Victoria’s life. This movie has a good plot, great costumes, and good acting. And Young Victoria was nominated for three Oscars: Art Direction, Makeup, and Costume design and it did win the one for costume design.
The movie begins when Victoria is about 17 years old. She is still under the majority age that will allow her to be Queen when her uncle dies. Her mother and her mother’s secretary, Sir John Conroy, are trying desperately to enact a regency that will allow them to act as the monarch in Victoria’s stead. They need Victoria’s signature to enact the regency but she is too smart for that and refuses to sign it. Sir John pushes the issue just a little too hard which creates a rift between Victoria and Sir John; and between Victoria and her mother. Victoria safely turns 18, and shortly thereafter her uncle dies and she becomes Queen of England (or Great Britain as it were). Alas, Victoria is very young and inexperienced as a monarch and she listens to the advice of the wrong man, the prime minister, Lord Melbourne. Therefore, part of the film portrays Victoria’s struggles as a young and spirited monarch.
There is another plot in the film which explores the romance between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Everyone in Europe wants control of England and has groomed a consort for Victoria. One of these potential suitors is Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Victoria at first resists the notion of caring for Prince Albert since he has been groomed to be her consort but over time she begins to care for him and so their romance and relationship unfolds.
I thought this was a well done film. The costumes, of course, were beautifully done. Queen Victoria had some lovely gowns and Prince Albert had some great uniforms. You can see why this movie won an Oscar for costume design. The acting is also very well done.
Emily Blunt is perfect as the smart, vivacious young monarch who is eager to help her people but just doesn’t know how. She is inexperienced, willful, and naïve and Emily shows us all this in turn. She also shows us the other side of Victoria which is a young, powerful, rich girl who is learning to live and to love. Prince Albert is played by Rupert Friend. I thought he did a good job as well. He portrays Albert as a young man with good ideas who is just learning confidence in himself but is intimidated by Victoria’s power and wealth. Paul Bettany does a good job playing the charming Lord Melbourne. Melbourne is the prime minister who gives Victoria advice early in her reign. Unfortunately, some of that advice comes back to haunt her in later years. Jim Broadbent does a nice job playing King William, Victoria’s Uncle, whose last thoughts are of her as he exits the monarchy. He is at time joyful and at times the raging monarch. Mark Strong plays Sir John Conroy who becomes Victoria’s arch enemy because of how he treats her in her formative years, and he loses all he strived to achieve. He is a dark brooding character and Strong does him well. Miranda Richardson plays the Duchess of Kent, Victoria’s Mother. Richardson plays the fine line between worried mother and ambitious duchess well. So you really can’t tell if her mother is truly concerned about Victoria or merely concerned about herself. She did an excellent job. Overall, all the acting was well done.
I really enjoyed this film as did my grandmother who watched it with me. It was a very well done film about a part of history that I was unacquainted with. If you like period films or films about the British Monarchy then you should enjoy this film. It’s a great film to watch with your grandmother on a Sunday afternoon.