Rating

: * * *

Verdict

: A sumptuous tour of Britain's grandest homes - oh and a bit of a love story on the side.

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Visually delicious, dripping in both diamonds and details, The Young Victoria is a fresh approach to both its subject and its genre.

Avoiding the tendency to be stuffy and inaccessible, this period drama uses contemporary language and colourful costumes to recount the fledgling love story between Britain's longest-serving monarch and her cousin, Prince Albert, and in doing so, reveals a different side to a woman renowned for her strict morals and reclusiveness.

Blunt's Victoria is beautiful and playful - a far cry from the dour widow in history books and other films. Her performance, accompanied by a charming turn from Rupert Friend, nearly makes up for the fact there is barely a plotline to speak of.

Instead, watching the film is like going on a tour of the royal household - observing the lavish surroundings and peculiarities of royal life. Any moments of conflict or passion pass relatively unnoticed as the film continues swiftly on its tour.

Which is probably for the best, as the one truly dramatic turn, in the final minutes of the film, is a complete fabrication. It never happened. Instead, it is a cameo by actual royalty - Princess Beatrice - that provides the most intrigue. As does the unusual production team behind the film - comprised of Beatrice's mother, The Duchess of York, and Martin Scorsese.

Those looking for a Mills and Boon bodice-ripper or an accurate historical tale will be disappointed by the restrained love story. For everyone else, it's a sumptuous insight into a time gone by.

Joanna Hunkin





Cast

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:Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson

Director

: Jean-Marc Vallee

Rating

:PG (Low Level Violence)

Running time

:104 minutes