"The Young Victoria" has opened in London to a resounding . . . thud. This despite two very attractive lead actors in Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend (above).
"The [film] is intended to blow away the cobwebby image of the grumpy old Empress in her widow's weeds and show us instead the vibrant, brilliant younger woman who was very much amused by the glorious freedom she suddenly assumed at the age of 18," says The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw. Instead, "a tone of celebratory reverence for Victoria predominates" and "the film sometimes tasted like a damp slice of Balmoral-heritage shortbread." Read the rest of Bradshaw's review here. The Daily Mail (click here for the full review) called it a "pleasant but plodding biopic of our longest-serving sovereign, mainly to be recommended for those with a limitless appetite for stately homes, lavish costumes, and Mills & Boon romance. . .It has more than a faint whiff of mothballs and antimacassars." The Times liked it better; click here to read the review and see the trailer. (Below: the film's poster.)
Apparently, the most egregious historical howler in the film is the depiction of Edward Oxford's attempt to shoot Victoria as she rode in a carriage down Constitution Hill with Albert on 10 June 1840. In real life, Oxford's two shots missed; in the film, Albert shields his wife with his body and is hit in the chest. Victoria and Albert had been married just four months at the time, and Victoria was pregnant with the first of her nine children, a daughter named Victoria (who would become the German Empress in 1888). Edward Oxford (Wiki bio here) was later tried and found not guilty by reason of insanity. (Below: detail from an 1840 engraving by J. R. Jobbins of the assassination attempt.)
I'll review the film after it's released here in the United States. In the meantime, visit the film's pretty website here (and try not to be distracted by the anachronistic music, which was also used prominently in the film Love, Actually). Sarah Ferguson discusses her fascination with Queen Victoria and her role as a producer of the film here. Emily Blunt talks with the BBC about corsets and court etiquette here.