Today I am going to return to some royal movie reviews. I was in a Queen Victoria mood recently so I watched both procuctions. The movie Young Victoria was a feature film while Victoria and Albert was a A&E mini series. Here is the review I initially wrote for Young Victoria.
This movie is a sumptuous feast for the eyes and it also gives the viewer a
glimpse into the world of nineteenth century Britain and the young queen who would come to define an era. Emily Blunt’s portrayal of Queen Victoria in her youth is brilliantly wrought with emotion, strength, weakness and romance and a gamut of other emotions which the young queen certainly experienced. The movie captured with accuracy the prison like atmosphere and the tumultuous relationships that the young Victoria lived through.
I found the pacing of the movie did not drag the story down. While there may be no question of the outcome of Victoria and Albert’s courtship the political and social intrigue and vying for control, power and position that surrounded the circumstances of their relationship does keep the viewer caught up in the drama of their lives with great interest.
The production values, the acting and the directing are all top notch my only complaints are with the historical inaccuracies. Generally I am not one to complain too much about historical inaccuracies in Hollywood films but a few in particular really change the tone of this film.
The first one is prince Albert’s love for Victoria. The film makes it seem like
Albert was a love-sick puppy pinning away for Victoria until she came to her
senses and agrees to marry him. In reality Victoria fell very hard in love with
Albert after she had about 3 years on the throne enjoying her single status. But Albert was a bit ambivalent about coming to England and marrying Victoria. His love for her was something that developed more after their marriage than before. Also, Albert was not hurt in the real life assassination attempt on Victoria and having him injured as depicted in the movie seemed a bit too manipulative. With Albert being the love struck puppy the entire nature of the relationship changes as does the tone of the film. It does give the movie a feel of a romance novel aimed at a certain demographic. I don’t think that was necessary because the truth of the story has enough drama and romance to make it satisfying.
I also didn’t care for how the relationship between Victoria and her first prime minister, Lord Melbourne, was depicted. In this movie he seems like a
manipulative smarmy character. In reality he was much older than depicted in this movie and although there was mutual love and respect between the two, and Victoria may well have had a crush on him, Lord Melbourne actually played more of a fatherly and mentor role with her. I much prefer the relationship as depicted in the A&E mini-series Victoria & Albert by Victoria Hamilton and Sir Nigel Hawthorne. Victoria & Albert
I actually like the A&E mini seires much better. In particular is the scene where Victoria finally is able to confront John Conroy her mother’s comptroller and advisor. I think the scene as depicted in Victoria & Albert is quite dramatic and significant while the movie Young Victoria depicts this incident rather anti-climatically and hardly filled with any tension.
The A&E mini seires has a more historically accurate portrayal of Albert. In that series he is not alove sick puppy but a strong willed man with ideas of his own and who agrees to marry Victoria more out of a sense of duty and what is expected of him rather than love. Love is something that developes over time.
The strained relationship between Albert and Baroness Lehzen is abscent from Young Victoria but dramatically played out in the mini series. Baron Stockmar and his role in the lives of both Victoria and Albert stands out in the mini series and is underplayed in the movie Young Victoria.
All in all both versions have their positive aspects but I greatly prefer the miniseries over the film. If you have seen both films I would love your thoughts!