Emily Blunt may be in slightly over her head in this relatively straightforward historical drama about the coming of age – and the grasping of power – of England’s longest-reigning monarch, Queen Victoria. But she gives it a go anyway. Director Jean-Marc Valée piles on the opulent scenery, amid which Vicky repels all pretenders to the throne whilst romancing young Prince Albert (Rupert Friend of Chéri), a would-be German spy in the royal household. None of the perfs is exactly poison, and a few of them – Paul Bettany as the prime minister, Lord Melbourne; Miranda Richardson as Vicky’s mom, Thomas Kretschmann as scheming King Leopold of Belgium – are pretty good. And the location work in various English castles is at least a welcome change from the sound-stage artifice of old Hollywood. If only Blunt seemed more … directed. The workmanlike screenplay is by Coffee Table Film vet Julian Fellowes (Vanity Fair, Gosford) (100 min.).
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Writer: Julian Fellowes
Producer: Sarah Ferguson, Graham King, Martin Scorsese and Tim Headington
Cast: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent, Mark Strong, Thomas Kretschmann, Jesper Christensen and Harriet Walter