History UGGGGGHH. Amirite or amirgiht? Especially British history, with all its long names and not presidents and incest and wit! Speaking more broadly, history blows because they never remembered to take photographs so all we get are weird-looking paintings and daguerreotypes. I mean, could these royals and senators and shit not be bothered to snap a quick Polaroid (by Gaga) before they revolted and shit?
It’s like my second grade teacher used to say “When God closes a door, he opens up a window.” Hopefully not for a defenestration, Mrs. McNally! That is what I said in second grade and it reveals a lot, but too much digressing up in here. In this case, God closing the door of historic assholes not documenting things comes with the windows of actors and actorettes later being able to make great movies about the past. The Young Victoria is a movie in this vein!
(Quick sidebar: Does every British film/ The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, by BBC law, need to use the “PM’s Love Theme” from Love Actually?
Let’s go get the shit kicked out of us by mid-nineteenth century parliamentary government. Now, I really want to make a The Room trailer with this song, but only after my “Use Somebody” Denny/Lisa tribute. Again, digressing).
The Young Victoria is about Queen Victoria of the UK. She had a long reign. However, lots of interesting things happened early on in her rule. Like she got married. I’ll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum but it is difficult due to the treatment of history in the public and private school systems of the United States. There are lots of political issues facing Victoria. Sometimes, Paul Bettany gets a little creepy. I don’t mean to criticize Paul Bettany’s choices as an actor/ businessman (or a business, man) but off the top of my head, he seems to choose roles that either deal with nontraditional notions of Christianity or historical events (or Wimbledon. I fucking love Wimbledon.)
Bettany played Lord Melbourne, the Whig PM (Victoria could never trust a Tory boy without wanting to cut out her tongue again). He was savvy politically but also creepy. Good with the bad.
Speaking of good, this film looked really neat and pretty! There was a GORGEOUS shot before a dinner scene. There was a large amount of chalices set up. The camera had all the chalices in view but not in focus. Only a quarter of the cups were in focus at a time. The focus went in and out in sequence. It was awesome. I audibly gasped. The man in front of me eating a whole pizza turned to make sure I was ok. I was.
This movie is not all Paul Bettany and pretty visuals though. Emily Blunt was really good as the queen. I’ve been a fan of Emily Blunt since a little film called The Devil Wears Prada (PERHAPS YOU’VE HEARD OF IT). Judging by this film and her engagement to Jim Halpert, I would declare Ms. Blunt has had a nice year. Judging by her not being able to be in Iron Man 2, I would say *sigh*
Blunt handles all the intrigue of the role really well. Both sentiment and politics suit her. One moment, you wonder if she can develop human relationships, her professional self, and her independence all at the same time. The next moment, you question if she will be queen. Will she? Won’t she? So much drama!
Rupert Friend is swell as Prince Albert. I had some problems with his character but these were not problems with his portrayal. Rather, my Prince Albert qualms are three. First, at one point, Albert seems to drop all political interest of his initial courting of Victoria. What’s up with that? Second, the film mentions Victoria and Albert’s relationship, but glosses over it. At one point, I thought, oh, just two dignitaries, not related at all. But they were! And that was ok back then I think. Third, his mustache.
I mean, I’m not Royal Viscount Mustache over here, but I think they could have done better. I recently tried to grow a mustache. It worked? I mean, I grew hair on my face, but I do not think it could be legally classified as anything other than “uncomfortable.”
In the end though, The Young Victoria totally showed history the way this story should have been told, and that is with grace, charm, heart, and awwww. Take that, history!