Friday, January 8, 2010
STARRING EMILY BLUNT
THE YOUNG VICTORIA (B+)
It will be hard to discuss anything but Emily Blunt in her role as Queen Victoria in the above mentioned film. The British starlet scored big with a Best Actress Golden Globe nomination for this role. Loving Emily Blunt personally and hearing of her moving performance in The Young Victoria, I had to see it for myself. After watching the film I can honestly say her nomination is well deserved. She drove this movie like an ox in Oregon Trail.
The Young Victoria features Blunt playing the Queen before and after taking the throne. The script focuses in on the woman Victoria and not the tasks accomplished as Queen. The film shows the glory of being bowed to by everyone, having every need attended to, and holding the title "Your Majesty." Even better it stresses the many shortcomings that come with being the monarch of England like the pressure of ruling a country, every politician trying to manipulate the young inexperienced Queen, and most of all, finding love.
A beautiful representation of the older bureaucrats trying to mold Victoria before she is Queen comes during a chess game against her love interest Prince Albert. She asks, "Do you ever feel like a chess piece yourself, in a game against your will?" The movie accentuates Victoria constantly being hounded by her advisers and fellow bureaucrats to rule in their own interest. But Victoria is stronger than she looks. She does not want to simply work for the favor of her peers; she wants to help her people. Prince Albert's reply to Victoria's troubling question during chess embodies her independent spirit. He replies, "Then you better master the rules of the game until you can play it better than they can."
This film is really a love story. Despite becoming the Queen of England at just the age of eighteen all Victoria really wants is someone to share her true thoughts and feelings with. She desperately seeks someone to love and to be intimate with. The relationship between Victoria and Prince Albert unfolds before the audience's eyes. At first, the awkwardness of first meetings (especially with the 19th century etiquette) and then on to a blossoming relationship that ends in marriage. The Young Victoria is driven by the young couple and their unfolding connection.
The cast in this project all excelled in their roles. In a dialogue-Bowl like this one the characters need to have convincing interaction. This film was much more than even that. I could feel the distaste between rivals and the warmth of these two lovers. Emily Blunt draws you into her quiet charm and then blows you away with her commanding power as a leader. Mark Strong played a devious character in this film and once again executed the antagonist role to perfection.
Another strong suit was the directing. Director Jean-Marc Vallee uses dynamic shots to convince the audience of the Queen's power and tame shots to show her vulnerability as a young woman. The sound effects in this movie were also very well done. Refer to the scene when Victoria is at her inauguration ceremony and the church bells and cheers of the people chill you to the bone intensifying the raw power of the monarchy through forceful sound as the crown is gently placed atop her head.
Overall, The Young Victoria was a solid all around project driven by it's characters. The negatives in this film are few but enough to make it worth watching only once. The unconventional abrupt editing, the overload of British politics at times, the replay ability (want to watch it more than once?), and even the dreadful attire.
While this picture is worth a viewing at the theater good luck finding one that is showing it. You may have to wait for a DVD release. If you like me have a list of movies you need to see, put The Young Victoria on it. With astounding performances from the entire cast and a good script this film is one few should miss but with such a limited release in theaters many will.
My personal love for Emily Blunt may cause some bias, but she was magnificent in this role. As a main character featured in almost every scene like this film an actor needs to boldly demand the audience's attention, and Emily Blunt delivers. As it states in the upper right hand corner of this site, Emily Blunt is here to stay. Get ready for her in the upcoming release of Wolfman.
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