The Young Victoria (2009) is a period film dramatizing the life of one of one of the most beloved figures of the British monarchy: Queen Victoria. Victoria held the throne from 1837 until her death in 1876 and became known as “the grandmother of Europe.”
The Young Victoria paints a picture of Victoria’s life before and during her reign. We begin in her childhood, where she lives under the control of a highly overprotective mother and a possessive regent. We then see her grow into a teenager and then a woman, courting her German cousin Albert and eventually taking control of her own life and reign.
The most striking thing about this film is its visual aspects. The costuming is absolutely gorgeous and very elaborate — well suited for a film about the monarchy. Much of the film was shot inside of the very same buildings where the real Victoria spent her time, which of course make for phenomenal sets.
In addition to the film’s visual beauty, the performances are also pretty solid. Emily Blunt makes a very likable Victoria. She humanizes the legendary queen and makes the character easy to sympathize with, especially early on in the film when her family is trying so desperately to control her.
Of course, some liberties are taken with the true history of Victoria and her reign for dramatic effect, which is to be expected with any fictionalized historical drama. For instance, Albert was never wounded during an assassination attempt on Victoria (though there were assassination attempts); Melbourne appears much younger in the film than he actually was in comparison to Victoria; Victoria’s mother didn’t actually leave the room in embarrassment when Victoria’s uncle called her out at the dinner party, and the list goes on.
These errors are generally forgivable because the scenes as a whole are still based in fact, and in most cases only smaller details are changed. It’s a lot more factual than most films of its type.
Purely as a film rather than as a historical drama, The Young Victoria is somewhat slowly paced, but it has a lot of charm and is a very good watch for fans of historical drama, British history or the Victorian era. It’s one of the better historically-based films I’ve seen in recent years and is well worth a watch. The score: 4/5