Friday, August 14, 2009

Must Watch Friday: The Young Victoria

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful young princess who was kept a virtual prisoner by her mother and her mother's scheming steward. The young princess was forbidden from mingling in court or indeed with the common people, had to sleep in her mother's bedroom, and could never walk down the stairs without holding on to some one's hand.

The mother and the steward dreamed of a lifelong regency where they could rule an empire. However, they underestimated the princess who fought back, married for love and eventually became the most powerful queen in the entire world -- Queen Victoria. Before the widow, the wife. Before the wife, the princess and her fight for survival.

It is an amazing story and one I have loved since I was about eight and first happened on a book about Victoria's childhood. On my wall, I have prints of the young Victoria and Albert. And thus I approached this film with some caution. Would it live up to my expectations? Some of the critics panned it. But inspired by the music, I ordered it on dvd, and was very glad I did.

The film, The Young Victoria is beautifully filmed. The sets and costumes are lush. The score splendid. It has a high bonnet count. If you were unfamiliar with certain aspects of British history though, the movie might be a bit confusing. Certain things like the mistake Victoria made over the ladies in her bedchamber do not always make sense to the casual viewer. But the real heart of the movie is the love affair between Victoria (Emily Blunt)and Albert (Rupert Friend). And the chemistry between the two works.
Miranda Richardson is delicious as the scheming Duchess of Kent with Micheal Strong as the scheming John Conroy. Jim Broadbent plays the ailing King William IV whose main goal is to stay alive until his young niece is 18. Paul Bettany is the wonderfully seductive Lord Melbourne who attempts to use Victoria for his own purposes.

Victoria's spaniel Dash nearly steals the movie. Dash is played by a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Tori. And purists will point out that Cavaliers are a 20th century invention. However, the colouring is exactly right for the real Dash.

Albert ably played by Rupert Friend proves to be the man for Victoria. He certainly was no pushover and had his own ideas about what he should be doing. In this clip from early in the movie, he is attempting to woe Victoria. It is easy to see why Victoria spent the rest of her life mourning her husband.

If you enjoy lush historicals or indeed love stories, then make time to see this one.

Michelle Styles writes historical romance set in a wide variety of time periods. She is currently working on one set in the early Victorian era. Her next release is, however, The Viking's Captive Princess in December 09.


  1. Ohh. Great review Michelle! The film sounds lovely. I must admit I did read several reviews by critics who panned it and that did put me off seeing/buying the film at the time. But now I think I'll go out and get it. Take care. Caroline x

  2. I'm with Caroline, there - but as I've also just visited the place where The Young Victoria was filmed, I can't resist... (I also have Kate Williams' bio on my TBR pile, 'Becoming Queen' - should be a goodie.)

  3. Yes and while Rupert Friend doesn't as a rule appeal to me (hated him as Wickham) the clips are intriguing and I think he may just have been right for this part. Now I want to watch!

  4. OH I do hope you enjoy. The sets and the dresses were wonderful.

    Of course I loved Dash who stole scenes.

    RupertFriend was excellent in this. I was prepared to think no, but there is a certain chemistry.

  5. I think I have to watch the film now. Rupert Friend is okay but I really like Emily Blunt. She's a great actress.

  6. A delightful review of a delightful film -- but as a Cavalier fancier, I can tell you that Cavaliers pre-date the 20th century. Just look at Landseer's paintings to see spaniels just like the "modern Cavalier". Victoria painted Dash a number of times and it's clear he was a tri Cavalier. The breed became rare, but never completely died out; it was revived and once again became popular in the 20th century.