What can I say? This film is very, very, very different from Young Victoria, but, that isn't a bad thing really. Especially since the truth probably is somewhere between the two. In Young Victoria, viewers get treated to a giddy-making romance. From start to finish, Young Victoria delivers. The music. The costumes. The sets. The dialogue. The acting. The drama. It is just a great, great film.
While Young Victoria was all about the early years of her marriage (the movie ends with her first pregnancy), Victoria and Albert covers so much more. It covers their entire relationship from start to finish. It's got a framework to it as well. Viewers see Queen Victoria as an old woman remembering her life. And you definitely get the idea that it was a great love--for her. But what Victoria and Albert focuses on, in a way, is how that love was unrequited...at least for a time. Viewers see her fall in love with him almost from the start. Perhaps not their first, first meeting when he was still more of a boy than a man, but still. The movie captures her strong emotion, or connection, with Albert. And in fact it shows her proposing to him very soon after. It shows them marrying, starting a family, raising that family, but viewers see an Albert who is still hesitant to say that he's "in love." In fact, the film shows Albert asking around to see if other husbands feel the same way, if love comes with marriage--with time in marriage, or if it is necessary for a good marriage at all. There is a scene where he confesses his love for her, where he's honest with her--when confronted--that it hasn't always been love. And it was nice to finally get that scene, to see Albert "get" it...finally. But. As far as romance is concerned, Victoria and Albert is hardly giddy-making.
If the film has a strength, and I believe it does have strengths, it is in showing their lives more fully. We see Queen Victoria first as an overly-protected young woman waiting for the throne, we see her mature as a Queen. We see glimpses of her independence, her stubbornness, her resourcefulness. We see her as being strong and powerful. But we also see her as wife and mother. We see her in her quieter, tender moments. We see her with her children, with her husband. We get private family moments, moments where the focus is not on politics or a nation or an empire. And it was nice to get a fuller portrayal that covers more time, more areas of her life.
I also enjoyed seeing Victoria Hamilton as Queen Victoria. Though Victoria and Albert was filmed (or released) in 2001, I knew her best--knew her first--as Ruby Pratt from Lark Rise to Candleford. (I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Lark Rise to Candleford.) So it was great to see her earlier work, and I definitely appreciated it. While Jonathan Firth makes a nice Prince Albert, he's not quite Rupert Friend.
Watch Victoria and Albert
- If you like historical/biographical films (though I'm not sure how true or how accurate this film is at capturing the real details of this royal couple)
- If you are interested in Queen Victoria or Victorian England
- If you like costume/period dramas
© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews