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Friday, January 8, 2010

The Young Victoria - My Review

Anyone who knows me knows that I adore a period piece. Therefore it’s only natural that I was eagerly anticipating the release of The Young Victoria. So I got up early on Sunday to see the first showing at the Suncoast Theaters.

I love seeing films at the Suncoast because it’s where all the old folks go to see their films. If you sit in a theater full of old folks strategically, you can have a very enjoyable movie going experience. It’s much easier to strategize a theater full of old folks than it is to strategize one full of teenagers or kids. Lots of old folks see movies by themselves so sit within the vicinity of as many singles as you can because if they’re alone they have no one to gab with. Get to the theater a little bit early so if you do sit by a couple or group you can gauge how loud or annoying they are going to be and move your seat accordingly. Another bonus of the old folks is that they are usually on the technologically deficient side, so you don’t have to worry about calls or texting or facebooking during the films. Are you all sufficiently enlightened now? I highly suggest figuring out which theater in your town is the old folks’ theater and see all your movies there!

Anyhoo. . .I didn’t know much about Queen Victoria before seeing this film and it did make me want to find a good biography and read it immediately. Other than that I don’t have much to say. I want a period piece to completely sweep me off my feet and leave me swooning by the end. This one didn’t do that. It did LOOK beautiful - costumes, set design, locations, all that was just what a period piece should be. There was something a little off though. Maybe it was that the story was slightly clichéd. I know it’s hard to call a film based on actual events clichéd, but we’ve seen this Royal story before: sheltered princess, a pawn in everyone’s political game, crowned Queen too young. I knew exactly what was going to happen. I commend the filmmakers for focusing only on the early years of her reign and not trying to make a film that spanned decades, but their attempt to mix the political side with the romantic side came off a little clumsy for me. It would have been better if they had focused on one or the other. Emily Blunt did a decent job but I think this role was maybe a little too big for her. She has yet to find a role that fits her as well as her The Devil Wears Prada role did. She’s so very modern, and something about the set of her mouth and her period hair in this struck me as silly, not regal.

My favorite thing about this film was Jim Broadbent as King William IV. Jim Broadbent continually pulls off amazing performances. His Professor Slughorn was my favorite thing about Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince too. In Harry Potter his is an Oscar worthy performance in an otherwise just ok film. The same can be said about The Young Victoria, except his screen time is very limited. But if Judi Dench can win for eight minutes of screen time in Shakespeare in Love, then hey!

Wow. Reading over this review it seems like I really didn’t like The Young Victoria, which isn’t entirely accurate. It simply fell short of my expectations and being that I’ve seen every period piece ever made, they can be quite predictable for me. I definitely enjoyed my two hours in the theater watching this movie; it’s just not one I’ll add to my DVD library.

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