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Warning you about crappy movies since 2008.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Young Victoria

The Chronic Critic would be satisfied with just about any costume drama featuring palace intrigue and machinations by wicked courtiers. But, to throw in a love story on top of the powdered wigs and corsets, well, she's practically in heaven.

Victoria and Albert were a rare -- for royals -- love match. Watching the soon-to-be-queen (Emily Blunt) be wooed by, and fall for, Albert (Rupert Friend) is a pure delight. There are other suitors, to be sure, and a domineering mother (Miranda Richardson) who'd rather see one of her own advisers become the ruler of England. But, the headstrong Victoria will not be denied her destiny.

She means to rule England wisely and doesn't need a husband to tell her what to do. Albert means to be treated as an equal. Victoria and Albert have some pretty radical ideas (for the 1830s) about the arts, housing for the poor and social justice. The pair is not just good for one another; they're good for the empire. To paraphrase Bill Clinton's famous campaign line about his and Hillary's political partnership, the country was getting two for the price of one.

Blunt exhibits her impressive range with this role. It's easy to forget she first came to prominence as the put-upon assistant in The Devil Wears Prada. Friend is a gentle, vulnerable and worthy suitor.

As you'd expect, the sets are grand, the vistas sweeping and the music soaring. But, what really makes this movie worth seeing is the royal romance. See it.

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