The secret to any period romance drama lies in making it seem effortless. Without emitting so much as a sigh, Emily Blunt owns the role of Britain’s young Queen Victoria. Looking suspiciously like Orlando Bloom’s evil (and more compelling) twin, Rupert Friend eventually hits his stride in the supporting part as Prince Albert, the love of Victoria’s life.
Director Jean-Marc Vallee renders screenwriter Julian Fellowes’ meticulous script with an open approach reflected by the film’s framing (courtesy of Hagen Bogdanski) and vibrant dramatic tone. The story jumps from Victoria's life as a precocious child to 1837, when she ascended to the throne despite the machinations of her mother the Duchess of Kent (well played by Miranda Richardson) and her sketchy advisor Sir John Conroy (Mark Strong).
Victoria’s uncle, Belgium’s King Leopold (Thomas Kretschmann), busily teaches his nephew Albert (Friend) how to court Victoria. But the queen’s personal advisor Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany) has a romantic agenda of his own — one that conflicts with Albert’s grand plan, a campaign that includes carefully planned visits and gushing love letters.
Young Victoria is a well-crafted period romance made personal by Blunt’s disarming performance. Grade: B
Opens Dec. 25. Check out theaters and show times, see more photos from the film and get theater details here.