Victoria and Abdul (2017)
Director: Stephen Frears. (112 mins).
Our rating: Very good lots to enjoy
Many years after the death of her beloved Prince Albert, Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) is still in mourning and has gained a huge amount of weight, owing to the large number of official meals she has to sit through.
Catching her eye at dinner one day is Abdul Karim, a lowly Muslim clerk from India who has been brought to her to give a present. He is tall, handsome and as greedy and obsequious as anyone who circles the Queen for favour. They soon become close friends and she promotes him to be her official teacher in Muslim culture.
Scandalising court, her family and courtiers launch an investigation into his past in an effort to oust him and restore their own fortune hunting.
Review by Jason Day
Very much a film of two halves, the first being a worryingly broad, bawdy, "barbaric" (to quote one of the Indian characters here) comedy of manners and gastronomic etiquette, this final chapter in the cinematic life of good ole Queen Vic(toria, at least for actress Judi Denc,h who played her to Oscar nominated acclaim as Mrs Brown in 1997) succeeds more during the final half.
That serving is a deeply moving exploration of a troubled single, ageing woman's longing for what all humans at one level or another in their lives desire: companionship, affection, understanding.
Dench chews up and spits out the more infantile aspects of the script to hone in on and emotionally realise the intimate, psychological side of the serious stuff. Namely, an outwardly unamused Empress who just needed a laugh or two.
Ali Fazal as her Muslim 'munshi' very effectively shades in his real-life character to be just a little bit more than the usual toadying, greedy, monarchical acolyte hanging around her for a cast-off title or other, profitable privilege.
For more, read the full review: bit.ly/victoriaabdulfilm
Cast & credits
Director: Stephen Frears. (112 mins). BBC Films/Cross Street Films/Perfect World/Working Title. (PG)
Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Beeban Kidron,Tracy Seaward.
Writer: Lee Hall.
Camera: Danny Cohen.
Music: Thomas Newman.
Sets: Alan MacDonald.
Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Tim Piggott-Smith, Eddie Izzard, Adeel Akhtar, Michael Gambon, Paul Higgins, Olivia Williams, Fenella Woolgar, Julian Wadham, Robin Soans, Simon Callow.
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