Stage and Cinema film and theatre reviews
 

The Young Victoria - Film Review

 

EMILY BLUNT'S RACE FOR STARDOM

 

picture - The Young VictoriaMovie Review 

by Kevin Bowen

published December 23, 2009

 

The Young Victoria

rated PG

now playing in limited release

 

So we’ve started to reach that point with Emily Blunt.

 

Is the talented English actress going to become a true star in her own right, rather than supporting everyone else’s star? Or will she turn dull watching Rebecca Hall steal all her roles for the next decade?

 

The very talented English actress has been One to Watch since catching the critical eye, first in 2005’s My Summer of Love and then as Meryl Streep’s other assistant in The Devil Wears Prada. Originally, it was assumed that The Young Victoria would be her potential star turn.

 

A year’s delay in release and a film suffering more knife wounds than Rasputin, it remains to be seen.  Fluttering between youthful confidence and political naiveté, Blunt is the best thing about this otherwise average costume drama. Beyond her performance, the slender story doesn’t have reason to exist on film besides the fact that every Oscar season needs a queen.

 

picture - The Young VictoriaIn fairness, The Young Victoria takes the mustached matron of later years and turns her on her head into a passionate youngster tormented by her power-mad mother and step-father and deeply confused by her marital prospects. Never mind that at a tender age, she is about to be thrust onto the throne of England during a turbulent age.

 

All this would make for an interesting story, if the queen herself had much to do with it. The impression left is of social upheaval happening outside the Palace walls. As a counterpoint, Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth felt like the lynchpin in her era. Blunt’s Victoria feels like she’s trying to keep the turmoil from compromising her social life.  

 

Jean-Marc Vallee’s direction glows on the surface but doesn’t have much steel underneath. It’s pretty, but in that suspicious way. The final version takes an already thin story and chops it even thinner. The Young Victoria is a film that feels like it has been given the once-over twice. What we’re mainly left with is a performance by Blunt that reminds us that she is still a comer. But she needs to find that role soon.   

 

kevinbowen @ stageandcinema.com

 

 
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