Original title: The Young Victoria
Theatrical release in Germany: 22.04.2010
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The film, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, was released on the 22nd of April in German cinemas.
The cast includes British as well as German and Dutch actors.
Queen Victoria is played by Emily Blunt, who also starred in "The Devil wears Prada" and "The Jane Austen Book Club". Although 10 years older than her role, she looks pretty young and sensitive.
Rupert Friend, best known for being Keira Knightely's boy friend, plays an astonishingly resembling Prince Albert.
Paul Bettany, the horrible monk Silas in "The DaVinci Code", is the charming and manipulative Lord Melbourne, many years Prime Minister and adviser to the young Queen.
Miranda Richardson - aka Rita Skeeter - represents the mother of Queen Victoria, the German descending Duchess of Kent, who tries without effort to get the Regency for her underage daughter.
Jim Boradbent - alias Horace Slughorn - mimes the old and grumpy King William, Victoria's uncle.
Thomas Kretschmann plays King Leopold of Belgium, also uncle to Victoria from maternal side.
Harriet Walter, the evil Fanny Ferrars Dashwood in "Sense & Sensibility" impersonates a marvellous Queen Adelaide.
Mark Strong (starring in "Sherlock Homes" and "Robin Hood") is the malevolent Sir John Conroy, counsellor to the widowed Duchess of Kent.
History and Plot:
George III, Victoria's grandfather, although he had nine sons and 6 daughters, had only two legal grandchildren, one of them Charlotte, who died in childbed in the year 1817 and the other one Victoria, born 1819. After George III death in 1820 his sons George IV and William IV followed as sovereigns, with Victoria being heir presumptive to the throne. Her mother Victoria, Duchess of Kent, widowed after just two years of marriage with the fourth son of George III, Edward Duke of Kent, separated Victoria from all public life, to prevent her from harm and to get - in the presumably case that William IV would die, before Victoria turned 18 - Regency. She totally relied in all her affairs - political and financial - on Sir John Conroy, who flatters her, dictates her and betrays her of most of her income. He also tries to force Victoria to give him more influence over her live, but she refused, although he threatened her and behaved reallly badly. She swore to never forget the way both had treated her and fulfilled her vow when she became Queen.
The movie starts, when Victoria turns seventeen and shows the intrigues of the three parties participated: The court, at that time still in the hands of King William IV, his wife, Queen Adelaide and Lord Melbourne as well as King Leopold's, who needs to deepen his relations to the English crown and therefore wants to marry his nephew Albert to Victoria, to gain more power, as well as her mother and Lord Conroy, to get Regency.
Victoria was a game ball in history. But when her uncle King William IV died, and she had already turned 18, she deceives all parties and became a Queen of her own character. Lord Melbourne succeeded to become her dearest friend, but gave her some ill advice. Uncle Leopold sends his nephew to gain the heart of the young Queen, but she first refuses him. The Duchess of Kent has to quit all her power, was not allowed at court as well as Sir John Conroy, who left the country after he had lost all of his influence.
When Lord Melbourne failed to become Prime Minister again and Sir John Peel was his successor, Queen Victoria was so disappointed, that she refused to cooperate with him and clang to her Whig household (Peel was Tory). Riots moved the streets and Victoria fell dramatically in the favour of her subjects. In that bad situation she sought advice from her cousin Albert and when he joined her in England she finally proposed to him.
Albert wasn't very beloved by English people, because of his German descent. Uncle Leopold wanted him to be his puppet and to influence Victoria in his sense. And the Queen wanted no co-sovereign. So he had a hard beginning.
Albert made his mind up and declared his only loyalty to Victoria, thus snubbing King Leopold and Lord Melbourne and won the heart of the stubborn Queen with patience and care. He even would have sacrificed his life, when an assassin tried to shoot the four months pregnant Victoria. When their first child, Victoria Princess Royal was born, Victoria relied totally on her husband and allowed him to reign alongside her in affairs of state and family. They got 9 children and lived together for 20 years, until Prince Albert died of typhoid fever aged 42.
The movie was very, very close to history, known from letters, journals and the press, except that Prince Albert didn't attend the crowning of Queen Victoria and wasn't hurt in the attempted assassination. But otherwise the film is realistic, tantalizing and entertaining. The cast is superb, the costumes and the setting are thrilling and the music wonderful.
The film is very worth seeing, particularly in English, as it is simple to understand even for not native speakers. If you want to deepen the subject I would recommend reading the book "Becoming Queen" by Kate Williams. It covers the same time as the film and deals with the same context.