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Young Victoria, The


Stars: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Mark Strong, Jim Broadbent, Julian Glover, Thomas Kretschmann, Harriet Walter, Rachael Stirling, Shaun Dingwall

Director: Jean-Marc Vallee

An enjoyable if somewhat bloodless account of the few months leading up to Victoria's accession to the English throne in 1837 and the first few years of her reign.

The previous year, Sir John Conroy (Strong), husband of Victoria's mother (Richardson). who is under his ruthless thumb, tries to compel a sickly Victoria (Blunt) to sign an Act of Regency, effectively giving him power over the country. Even when he tries to use physical force - an act he will live to regret - she refuses.

This prologue is, in a way, and thanks to Strong's intimidating performance, probably the most interesting section of the film. After Victoria ascends to the throne, the story concentrates on her (largely long-distance) courtship by Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg (Friend) and the influence Prime Minister Lord Melbourne (Bettany) attempts, with considerable success, to wield over her.

Gowns are ravishing, performances absolutely competent - although a little less petulance from Blunt and a little more steel would not have come amiss - but drama too often lacking. And the use of slow-motion in the attempted assassination of the Queen is a mistake. Instead of the sequence making the pulse race, we're left with a anti-climactic feel to the end of the film.

David Quinlan

UK/Canada 2008. UK Distributor: Momentum. Technicolor.
105 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 03 Mar 2009