How good are Emily Blunt in the title role and Rupert Friend as the German royal fellow who quietly becomes indispensable to her in THE YOUNG VICTORIA, the new history-over-lightly film by Jean-Marc Valée (shown below)? Very, very. These two actors -- one under-rated (Mr. Friend) and the other usually given her due -- are so fine, separately or together, that they offer the moment-to-moment specificity and strength needed to bring to life M. Valée's pretty much by-the-numbers rendition of the early days of England's most beloved Queen.
I don't mean to put down Valée's work-
manlike but effective job. He does what must be done in 100 minutes to make his movie mainstream, Masterpiece Theater-level entertainment (the equally efficient screenplay is from Julian Fellowes). It looks good, features a host of fine actors all doing a fine job, and tells an interesting story -- selecting its moments wisely to put together a picture of why and how a young and not-just-sheltered but deliberately-repressed girl found the strength and smarts to begin her rule.
ardson (center, in chartreuse), Jim Broadbent, Mark Strong (left), Harriet Walter and Thomas Kretschmann, to name a few. You'll pretty much know what you're in for when you sit down to watch The Young Victoria, but this does not mean that you won't be able to simply scrunch down in the chair, relax and enjoy every minute.