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The Young Victoria

Year: 2009
Production Co: GK Films
Director: Jean-Marc Valée
Writer: Julian Fellowes
Cast: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Mark Strong, Jim Broadbent

A Regency romance novel given flight, dressed in the costumes, sets and finery of the comparable recent The Duchess, but without the pleasantly devoid of unhappy endings.

As a teenager, the future Queen Victoria (Blunt) is coddled, repressed and removed from the society she's destined to lead, her gullible mother (Richardson) and their scheming handler (Strong) determined to be the real power behind the throne when Victoria claims it.

When she ascends to the throne, she sets about making her mark as ruler, pulled in every direction at once by the powers jostling for supremacy around her, from her mother's puppet master to the charming but prejudiced Prime Minster Melbourne (Bettany).

Melbourne's also a rival for her affections to the young Belgian Prince Albert (Friend), who Victoria secretly loves more, a marriage the Belgian royal family knows will consolidate its position in Europe. Victoria's character arc is from an uncertain young girl to the monarch now famous for not being amused as she consolidates her rule and finds her place as a ruler.

It's very well designed and executed, and the pleasant, love-centric story is satisfying and engaging. Interesting that if this sort of thing is found in a book it's dismissed as distracting rubbish, but as a film it's revered as historic art.

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