“Do you ever feel like a chess piece yourself? In a game being played against your will?”
“Constantly. I see them leaning in and moving me around the board.”
“The Duchess and Sir John?”
“Not just them. Uncle Leopold. The king. I’m sure half the politicians are ready to seize hold of my skirts and drag me from square to square.”
“Then you had better master the rules of the game until you play it better than they can.”
“You don’t recommend I find a husband to play it for me?”
“I should find one to play it with you, not for you.”
Every little girl dreams of being a princess. But to young Princess Victoria (Emily Blunt) being a princess was not all it’s cracked up to be. Growing up, she endured a host of regulations– she could not walk up or down stairs without holding the hand of an adult, she could not read popular novels, she could not make choices for herself. Upon the death of her uncle, the king, she would become Queen of England… and when a child is faced with such a huge responsibility, the people around her will jump at the opportunity to use her as a pawn for their own power.
Now as the death of King draws near and the princess comes closer to becoming queen, Victoria’s mother and Lord Conroy, her mother’s adviser, put on the pressure to control her reign. Around the same time, Victoria receives a visit from her German cousins, Albert (Rupert Friend) and Ernst. Her uncle Leopold’s goal is for Albert and Victoria to marry for political reasons; however, the two find themselves appreciating each other for who they are, not as a political match. Victoria is unwilling to rush into a marriage, but she and Albert keep in contact by writing letters, and Albert’s love for her grows, despite her friendship with Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany), the British Prime Minister.
The king dies and Victoria is made queen. She relies heavily–sometimes too heavily–on the advice of Lord Melbourne, but it is Albert who will be a source of strength to her as she faces the turbulent events of her early reign that nearly threaten her reign.
Not having studied as much as I would like on the life of Queen Victoria, I point to the knowledge of others regarding historical accuracy. My understanding from others is that it follows the real life events very closely, though some incidents have been modified (for instance, there was an attempted assassination, but in real life, neither Albert or Victoria was hurt). One thing I found fascinating was comparing the actors and actresses with the portraits in my copy of Queen Victoria by Lytton Strachey. Many of them bear a very strong resemblance, down to hair styles, gowns and suits, and facial features. Also, if you keep your eye open in some scenes, you’ll catch site of several real historical paintings of Queen Victoria in the background.
If I might add for my fellow historical costumers here, the film features some absolutely gorgeous and period-correct gowns worth studying, as well as a look at less-obvious pieces such as corsets, corded petticoats, stockings, and elaborate hair pieces. 😀
The Young Victoria is rating PG for “some mild sensuality, a scene of violence, and brief incidental language and smoking.” Personally, I would be hesitant to recommend it to younger viewers. Albert and Victoria share passionate kisses and embraces after their marriage, and you do see them kissing in bed, clothed. As to language, I only recall one use of the word “d**n”. The violence mentioned in the rating consists of a man being shot in an attempted assassination, but it is not overly graphic.
A more detailed break-down of content that may or may not be objectionable can be found at Plugged In.
Next to Secretariat and Miss Potter, The Young Victoria is probably my favorite movie about real events and people. Watching it, I didn’t feel rushed or confused (except perhaps when it came to some of the politics, but then, politics are always confusing, right? 😛 ) The cast is nearly perfect, the costumes are delicious, the music is beautifully heart-stirring, the relationship between Albert and Victoria is unspeakably sweet, the end is a definite tear-jerker. Albert’s selfless love for Victoria, even to the point of putting his own life in danger to protect her when she was treating him unlovingly, is beautiful, reminds me of Christ’s unconditional, self-sacrificing love for us even when we reject Him. He is faithful and loyal to Victoria, strong in his convictions, and kind-hearted and accepting even to people who are difficult to love, such as Victoria’s mother. Victoria’s courage and determination despite of opposition, her firm resolution to “be good”, and her concern for the welfare of common people and workers, inspires me to be strong and courageous in the positions God puts me in and to do what’s right, no matter the voices around me that try to convince me otherwise. Victoria fails at times, but she admits her wrong and learns from her mistakes, allowing them to drive her to be a better queen and to deepen her relationship with her husband. A Christian worldview is reflected throughout the course of the movie, as it was in the historical reign of the real Victoria.
The Young Victoria is definitely a keeper. I highly recommend this beautiful rendition of one of the most beautiful love stories in recent history.