A twenty-eight year old heterosexual male and the movie The Young Victoria don’t sound like the ideal pairing for a night of movie watching. The thought of watching the winner of a Best Costume Oscar, which is a period piece to boot, made me want to yawn before even pushing “play movie” from the main menu. However, The Young Victoria had a surprise up its sleeve.
The Young Victoria was directed by Jean-Marc Valee from a screenplay by Julian Fellowes. The leading lady role is tackled by Emily Blunt with her main male counterparts being played by Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, and Mark Strong. The story is a simple one full of complicated drama involving the young Victoria as she politically battles to first take her place as Queen and then maintain said position favorably. A dash of romance fuels this journey as well, as she is courted both for her love and her power.
At first I thought I would have a hard time accepting Emily Blunt as an eighteen year old girl. However, she rose to the task or should I say de-matured for the task and really nailed it. Blunt made the character of Victoria very enjoyable to watch and I think succeeded in capturing the slant she was going for in showing the balance between being so young and yet determined to take on such adult duties. A major thing Emily Blunt has going for her is her smile and laugh. Whenever she smiles in the movie it is in a way that her top row of teeth come out of her mouth a bit, and the act comes across goofy , yet genuine, making her face light up and all the more beautiful and unique to watch. I guess I am saying she proved her acting skills to me, having all the tics and gestures one needs to truly stand out.
The male characters that seem to take exception to a young girl having more power then them, yet at different levels of deviousness, are all intriguing as well. They were not explored as robustly as they could have been and Victoria’s relationships to them in some ways could have used more back story for my liking, but overall the formula felt right for the simple premise.
The romantic angle for the movie is at first overshadowed by the political nature of the beast, however, by the third act the movie gives you a nice strong punch of the gushy stuff which may bring many romantics to tears.
I was surprised that a political period piece such as this was able to keep my attention, a rare thing indeed. I would say the trick The Young Victoria had up its sleeve was: charm. Charm brought on by its leading lady as well as the nice handling of the movie’s pacing. It isn’t a movie I will likely watch more than once, but for that one viewing The Young Victoria was indeed entertaining.