Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunday Salon: Watching Victoria and Albert (2001)

A few weeks ago I watched Victoria and Albert. I had just finished watching Young Victoria (I'll be reviewing that another week, I want to rewatch it just one more time...because two times just isn't enough, right?) and I was in the mood for more.

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 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


Jennifer Donovan 4:13 PM  

Have you read <a href=">Prisoners in the Palace</a>? It was very interesting as well, and made me want to watch Young Victoria (which I haven't done yet!), but I think that I have Victoria and Albert that was in some A&E collection, so maybe I'll watch it.


forex robot 10:33 AM  

i have also watched the Victoria and albert , thats a great movie, i like that one.

Amanda Frank,  1:11 PM  

What a great recommendation!I'm one of those people who has to read the accompanying novel before or after seeing the movie, and this sounds like a great one! Sometimes I read a book and get really hyped for the movie and it just lets me down, but there are times where I've seen the movie and I know there has to be a lot missing from it - so I pick up the book! Historical Fiction is probably my favorite genre and I'm not particular about any specific topic. For example, have you ever seen the old 1969 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid movie with Paul Newman and Robert Redford? Two words… awesomely classic! Now, I'm not a huge western fan, however I'm a sucker for classics! I just finished reading a great book that my friend recommended to me about Butch and Sundance that is definitely worth checking out! It's called “Legends Lost” by Charlie Mac.

I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did!

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