The Life and Love of The Young Victoria

First this season, we had someone we knew as a crusty dowager (who designed French fashion) find love in her previously unseen youth (Coco Before Chanel). Now we have someone known as a crusty dowager (who ruled Britain) find love in her previously unseen youth (The Young Victoria).

The similarities are astounding. What is joyous about this movie is that, like Coco Before Chanel, the best parts of this movie are the love parts. And there are more of them here.

It’s really a slight bit of a movie, with history flying around the screen, mostly this: lots of people don’t want her to be queen, she becomes queen anyway. Eventually, she marries the man she loves and lives happily with him. Along the way, there is the usual period stuff, fancy costumes and sets, elegant galas and crowns and tiaras.

What makes it refreshing to watch is the energized performance by Emily Blunt as Victoria, mirrored by Rupert Friend as the young Albert. But other than fighting to get to her rightful spot as queen, there isn’t a whole lot of conflict in the movie. Those who oppose her are mostly confined to sidelong glances of scorn here and there.

But the falling in love parts are glorious, and like this season’s Bright Star, the passion of youth in a former time is shown in all its brilliance.

Miranda Richardson, it should be noted, who livens up any period picture, is quite wonderful as the put-upon mother of the queen.

All in all, if you’re in the mood for a period drama with a love story at its core, you won’t do wrong seeing this one. But you might want to look elsewhere for something with a bit more substance.

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