Prince Albert: You're the only wife I've got or ever will have. You are my whole existence, and I will love you until my very last breath. ~The Young Victoria (2009)After waiting a very long time, I was able to see The Young Victoria at last. With so much in the news and in the movies about men and women tearing each other apart, it is utterly heartening to see a film about a pair of young lovers who save each other, politically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Victoria and Albert each completed the other in body, mind and soul, becoming truly one as spouses are meant to be. Prince Albert was sent to his cousin Victoria by their uncle as a pawn in a complicated political game. Albert, however, turned out to have a mind of his own. After meeting Victoria he decided not to be a pawn but to be her champion, which he was until the day he died. He put his relationship with her ahead of everything else but he did so with intelligence and integrity, as well as passion. As he loved her, he loved her country, he loved her family, and helped to restore the damaged relationship with her mother.
In the case of Victoria, she is portrayed as a young girl who, after gaining freedom from a stifling childhood, must learn the difference between strength and stubbornness. Her infatuation with charming Lord Melbourne, played to perfection by Paul Bettany, and her growing love for Prince Albert, are conveyed more by lighting and music than by words. Most especially her love for Albert and his love for her seems to slowly flood the film like the sun in the morning, until it becomes a blinding reality. The viewer is as convinced as Albert and Victoria that their love will last beyond time; it is heartbreaking to ponder the long bereavement which Victoria will endure when Albert dies so young.
The Young Victoria is a work of art and, as others have said, it could be easily watched with the sound off, merely for the spectacle. Likewise, the soundtrack is exquisite; I have been playing the DVD over and over again as background music. My only complaint is that the wedding scene was all of five seconds; the bridal party was not shown; I did not even get to see Victoria's gown, which I have no doubt was magnificent. I suppose, however, that nothing less than a recreation of the entire wedding ceremony would have made me happy.
Any minor historical lapses are made up for by the powerful performances. Jim Broadbent and Harriet Walter are delightful as King William and Queen Adelaide; I would not mind a movie just about them. William's tirade at Victoria's mother at his birthday banquet is priceless, as are Queen Adelaide's calm and wise discussions with the headstrong younger queen. Rupert Friend is superb as Prince Albert; he captures the German mannerisms with ease. Emily Blunt's Victoria is a restless child, as determined to be a good queen as she is not to be ruled by anyone. Miranda Richardson is Victoria's mother the Duchess of Kent, who is easy to dislike but, by the end, is made lovable by Albert's respect and kindness.
This is a must-see film for those of a romantic inclination. Anyone who loves history will enjoy it as well. The struggle for political power is an almost insurmountable force in the chess game of life. Love, however, is an overwhelming force as well, capable of changing the fate of nations and even the history of the world.
Queen Victoria: [to the Council] I am young, but I am willing to learn, and I mean to devote my life to the service of my country and my people. I look for your help in this. I know I shall not be disappointed. Thank you.
Please visit Melanie's blog for pictures of the real Victoria and Albert. Share