Dame Judy Dench takes another turn playing the strong-willed Queen Victoria.
Dench stars alongside Bollywood star Ali Fazal in Victoria and Abdul, a film based on Shrabani Basu’s book of the same name. Dame Dench revisits the role that earned her an Oscar nod several years back in Mrs. Brown, (a movie about the queen’s relationship with her butler John Brown.)
Victoria and Abdul is the tale of the elderly and depressed British monarch, Queen Victoria, and her servant Abdul—who basically breathes fresh air into her one lung, and depressed demeanor.
Victoria takes a shine to her new household acquisition much to the dismay of her obsequious courtiers. To put it simply: nobody likes the new brown guy with no connections and no social standing. The queen, although in the winter of her life—finds a connection to a young man who dares to look her in the eye and treat her like a person—not a royal.
The story is true but the movie takes liberties—so let’s say it’s ‘almost true.’
It is important to remember the times—India was massacred by the British—so their love for their ‘Empress’ Victoria was weak. Keep that in your bonnet while watching.
The story is engaging and Dench is wonderful—Fazal is at times charming and snake-like. The interesting thing about this movie is that it was hard to tell if Abdul was a charmer or yet another obsequious courtier in training. I’ll choose the former. But we’ll never know for sure because the royal brigade attempted to erase him from Victoria’s life and history after she died.
This is an interesting tale that was uncovered through some patient digging by the book’s author.
I found myself googling the real story and the real Abdul—and we suspect you will too.
One can only hope Dench she picks up another nod for this amazing performance that transports the viewer to another time and place
Victoria and Abdul opens in theatres on September 22nd.