~ Young Victoria ~
As a 2009 British-American period drama film, it has the wonderful acting talents of: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, and Mark Strong. It was directed by Jean-Marc Vallée.
The film starts with a narrative of Queen Victoria (Blunt) speaking of her origins and the strict household rules that were applied for her safety in her home in Kent. Her mother (Richardson), the Duchess of Kent, has let her household be run by Sir John Conroy (Strong); a very controlling man who finds difficulty in keeping Victoria in check. Sir John tries to force Victoria to sign a paper allowing the Duchess to become Victoria’s regent because of her age. The young princess refuses to sign and go against her mother’s puppet-master.
Sir John had hoped that King William IV would die while Victoria was still a minor so that he can control the Duchess when she becomes Victoria’s regent. But because Victoria grows unhappy with Sir John’s controlling ways, she defies him and his wishes.
Victoria’s Uncle- the King of Belgium, Leopold I- wants to unite Britain and Belgium with an alliance. Leopold knows that his sister has little influence over her own daughter and wants his nephew, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, to seduce the young princess. Over the course of a few weeks, he’s trained by the Baron Stockmar to learn Victoria’s interests. The Duchess invites Albert and his brother, Prince Earnest, to come and visit England. During Albert’s stay, he and Victoria develop a fondness for each other. (Even go as far as Albert telling the young princess about his mother- whom his Uncle told to NEVER mention) When Albert returns home, he and Victoria write to each other often.
When Victoria insists on going to King William IV’s birthday party, Conroy can’t help but reveal his displeasure because Victoria would be “walking into the hands of the enemy”. At Windsor Castle during the reception, King William shows a large amount of displeasure and unrelenting dislike of the Duchess and how she and her “poisonous advisor” have kept his favorite niece from his court.
Later, King William raises Victoria’s allowance- causing Conroy to get angry. When he tries to force Victoria to agreeing to let him and the Duchess become co-regents, she refuses and he forcibly subdues her with her mother watching. Despite Conroy’s madness, the young woman still refuses and tells her mother that she will regret not stopping Conroy’s actions. When King William hears of this, he sends Lord Melbourne to advise Victoria. She agrees to appoint as her private secretary and lets him appoint her ladies-in-waiting.
King William dies just weeks after Victoria’s 18th birthday- making her heir to the throne and the Queen of England. After becoming queen, she immediately becomes independent and separates herself from her mother and banishing Conroy from her household. When she first meets her privy counsel, she expresses that she’s willing to learn despite how young she is. Victoria soon moves into the recently completed Buckingham Palace. Her aunt, Queen Adelaide, tries to advise Victoria about accepting all of the ladies-in-waiting that Melbourne opts for. Victoria disagrees and thinks that Melbourne is doing great on his own.
Meanwhile, Victoria and Albert still write to each other and Albert becomes impatient over the constant praise for Lord Melbourne and hearing of nothing else. It sort of starts to into a competition for influence over the young Queen. Albert goes to England to spend more time with her and even dances with her at her Coronation. But when Albert suggests going further in their affections, but Victoria resists.
When Lord Melbourne loses the vote in Parliament, Victoria invites Sir Robert Peel to form a new government. When he tells her to change her ladies in waiting because they were allies of Melbourne, the Queen refuses- thus, Peel refuses the Queen’s invitation; leading to Melbourne staying as Prime Minister. This begins a spike of crisis for the new Monarch as a riot begins to take place outside the castle and get so heated that an armed man made his way into the gardens wanting to threaten her life. As her popularity fades for this time, Victoria’s loneliness grows and her letters to Albert become melancholy. Albert assures her that’s she’s strong and will do fine, so they grow closer. Finally Victoria asks for Albert to come to England, where she proposes to him.
Albert and Victoria are incredibly loving of each other, but the Prince is frustrated at the fact that he has nothing to do. Queen Adelaide tells Victoria to let share her duties with her husband because a poor man with rich wife has more to prove than anyone else. So Victoria lets some of her duties go to her husband. Albert begins to investigate Conroy and inquires to the Duchess’s lack of funds- which Conroy is dismissed for. Soon, the Prince and Queen find that Victoria is pregnant and Albert is delighted. Albert becomes Victoria’s Primary Advisor, rejecting the influence of both Lord Melbourne and King Leopold I.
Unfortunately, Albert missteps and speaks down to Victoria when it comes to parliamentary politics during a talk with one of the councilmen. The two begin to fight, but Albert removes himself from his wife’s sight before she could somehow harm the baby. The next afternoon, Albert goes with Victoria on a carriage ride- much to her displeasure and still seething with anger. During the ride, Victoria is shot at by a would-be-assassin (Had his aim been better) but Albert moves Victoria out of the way and takes the shot unto himself. Albert lives and he and Victoria reconcile from their dispute.
Before the credits, it tells of how long Victoria and Albert reined together, her husbands tragic death from Typhoid, and how many children they had and their descendants.
This movie is a political one. But a wonderful love story follows. What I do like about his one is how it’s based off of true events. When I first saw this film, I cried. I’ve watched it countless times and I’ve recommended it to all of my friends.
A true love story? Why not?