By Don Simpson | November 16, 2009
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Writer(s): Julian Fellowes
Starring: Emily Blunt, Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent, Paul Bettany, Mark Strong, Rupert Friend, Thomas Kretschmann, Julian Glover, Michael Maloney, Rachael Stirling
This costume drama, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (C.R.A.Z.Y.), is just that – a costume drama about Queen Victoria’s (Emily Blunt) courting of, and eventual marriage to, Prince Albert (Rupert Friend). Rife with historical inaccuracies, The Young Victoria focuses more on costume and set design than dialogue or character development. Though the costume and set design is magnificent, the cinematography primarily relies upon overtly tight focuses which blur everything but one actor’s face at a time – a technique that is both distracting and frustrating.
The scenes are purposefully chopped short, as the film barnstorms through the Cliff Notes of Victoria’s late teens. This is a mere outline of a plot, rather than a fleshed out story. As a result, there are very few scenes worth noting, but I have to admit that listening to Victoria and Albert discuss opera and classical music composers as if they were teens of today talking about pop music was very entertaining.
Queen Victoria became Queen of England at age 18 and reigned for over 63 years; she was an intelligent and strong woman (for whom the Victorian era was named – a period of great industrial, political, scientific and military progress in Great Britain), but we would never know that from The Young Victoria. I guess Vallée’s point is to show that before she became Queen of England, Victoria was nothing special – she was just a sulky and seemingly oppressed teen.