Anyone who complains they don't make love stories like they used to will get a kick out of 'The Young Victoria,' a biopic of the early years of Blighty's longest-reigning queen and, in particular, her courtship with the love of her life, Prince Albert. Tip-top casting and playing, led by young thesps Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend as the royal lovebirds, a succulently crisp script by Julian Fellowes ('Gosford Park') and trim helming by French-Canadian Jean-Marc Vallee ('C.R.A.Z.Y.') combine in well-groomed, upscale, three-hankie entertainment for the 'Masterpiece Theater' crowd. Pic bows in the U.K. March 6.
A brief intro with Victoria as an 11-year-old (Michaela Brooks) sets her up as a victim of her position, caught between the machinations of two royal uncles and a prisoner of protocol and social rules. But thanks to Blunt's beautifully modulated turn, which balances royal reserve, girlish enthusiasm and lightly tempered steel, the film is in no way a morbid study in self-pity. The biggest compliment one can pay Blunt is that the more familiar Queen Victoria of later life can already be glimpsed in her perf without ever getting in the way of her youthful portrait.
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