The Young Victoria is a 2009 film, based on the young Queen Victoria’s personal life, rise to the throne, and early reign of the UK. It’s written by the same man who wrote Downton Abbey, the extremely popular drama set in the first decades of the 20th century. This man is called Julian Fellowes, a man known for historical anachronisms (things that shouldn’t be there, e.g. a Tudor man using a computer, despite being surrounded by other Tudor furniture) in TV shows. Luckily there aren’t many of those in this film! The film stars Emily Blunt as Victoria, the 18-year-old monarch, and Rupert Friend as her future husband Prince Albert.
The film follows Victoria’s life just before and after she takes the throne. We see her personality change from a young, energetic, positive and spirited girl to a calm, collected and mature woman. The film’s plot shows us how and why this change happened – Victoria is tired of being used as a political object, or a tool, in someone else’s game. People make so many attempts to manipulate her and try to get her to act in their favour that the viewer is bound to feel sympathetic. We see the relationships she has with her family, her friends and members of the British public alike, and we witness important moments in her personal life, such as the birth of her first child, and how she copes when her beloved Prince Albert dies. The film draws to a close by telling the viewer how Victoria and Albert continued their legacy, and how each of their 9 children became a member of many royal families across Europe.
The actors were all incredibly well chosen! Rupert Friend portrays perfectly the shy German prince, but he is dashing enough to make it seem obvious why Victoria fell in love with him. Miranda Richardson plays Victoria’s mother, a complicated character with odd motivations. Her relationship with Victoria is complex and Victoria eventually disowns her mother because she has manipulated her too much. Mark Strong plays the aggressive Sir John Conroy, who controls Victoria’s mother and attempts to control Victoria herself, and his style of acting perfectly suits this villainous character.
The costumes in this film are completely stunning. Victoria’s dresses, from her ball gowns to her coronation dress, are absolutely beautiful and created with intricate detail. The bright colours are incredible to behold. Albert’s outfits fit perfectly with the image of a dashing young prince, almost a fairy tale prince! The sets of the film are also extremely well done as they take modern landmarks (like Buckingham Palace) back to how they would have looked 150 years ago, which is surprisingly different to how they look today. This is a difficult task, but the film makers have managed to do it so that it’s convincing.
The film is definitely a great way for young teens to learn more about Victoria because we have this image of her as a grumpy old woman and the film set about fighting this negative picture. The costumes are definitely awe-inspiring, and combined with everything else, members of the audience may develop a new found love for the spectacle that was Victorian England.
Image from: http://www.film1.nl/films/31204-The-Young-Victoria.html