The Young Victoria - Film Review
EMILY BLUNT'S RACE FOR STARDOM
by Kevin Bowen
published December 23, 2009
The Young Victoria
now playing in limited release
So we’ve started to reach that point with Emily
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.
In 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
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
kevinbowen @ stageandcinema.com