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With: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent, Thomas Kretschmann, Mark Strong, Jesper Christensen, Harriet Walter, Jeanette Hain, Julian Glover, Michael Maloney, Michiel Huisman, Genevieve O'Reilly, Rachael Stirling
Written by: Julian Fellowes
Directed by: Jean-Marc Vallée
MPAA Rating: PG for some mild sensuality, a scene of violence, and brief incidental language and smoking
Running Time: 100
Date: 03/06/2009

The Young Victoria (2009)

2 Stars (out of 4)

For Queen and Costumes...

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Director Jean-Marc Vallée (C.R.A.Z.Y.) tries to move the camera around where he can and writer Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park) tries to instill a very modern-woman sensibility to the lead character, but The Young Victoria is still a pretty typical BBC-style costume drama. It's still a movie made up of pretty attire and people having polite, regal conversations in polite, regal rooms or gardens. And no matter how modern, it's still a movie about a woman finding a husband and making him happy.

Cute, feisty Emily Blunt stars as the teenage Victoria, who becomes queen despite her youth and despite pressure to turn it all over to a regent. She gets to purse her lips and bark orders at people who don't believe she is capable of doing so. She mistakenly trusts in Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany) for some of her major appointments and decisions, which seems to irritate some people on the sidelines, but which has no real effect on the drama.

Victoria's mother (Miranda Richardson) is rejected for her wrongheaded association with snaky one-dimensional villain Sir John Conroy (Mark Strong, also a one-dimensional villain in Sherlock Holmes). And Jim Broadbent provides a moment of humorous relief as the devil-may-care King William.

But the main focus is on Victoria's romance with Prince Albert (Rupert Friend), which takes two full acts to get going and has very little heat once it does. For a movie with genuine passion and poetry, see Jane Campion's Bright Star.

Meanwhile, look for The Young Victoria in the Best Costume category at the next Oscars.

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