Friday, June 19, 2009

The Real “Ever After” – The Young Victoria

There is a rather unknown movie by the legendary Romy Schneider (in case you don’t know her, she is the Princess Sissi forever) about the same topic of this one. But that version is a pure prince-and-princess-style fairy tale: the prince married the princess, and they were happy ever after. And today, this movie is gonna show you some not-so-happy things behind the fairy couple and ppl surrounding them.

Basically almost everyone in the movie got a dark side somewhere: the mother that wanted to be Regent of her own daughter, the prime minister that wanted to use the young queen to defeat his political enemies, the uncles that wanted to use marriage to control the queen and even the whole empire, etc. But the only role that was doomed is Sir John Conroy, a.k.a the lover of the mother. The scenes that Conroy shouted at the young princess (later on the queen), grabbed her in the arms, and even tried to force her to sign the “Regent Order” seemed rather unbelievable to me – Can you imagine that kind of things happened in any sovereign country where the bad guy actually had no power (officially he was just the treasurer and housekeeper of the mother)? Several simple words from the queen could easily send him to jail or even the guillotine. And when you saw the scene that the queen happened to meet Conroy alone in the corridor shortly after the unsuccessful assassination, you knew what would happen next…

As the core of the whole story, the B-cast Emily Blunt showed the potential of another “Her Majesty actress” – not so good-looking, but always behaves like a noble, and just like what Victoria said about herself in the move, “stronger than looks to be”. We are so glad that we find a successor to Cate Blanchett. And standing by her is the rather C-cast Rupert Friend (although he looks quite like Orlando Bloom, this is the first mainstream leading role he ever got in a full-length movie). Actually he did a pretty good job, but for commercial reasons, we would prefer a better created face…

And as a historical topic (and even more, a royal topic), this movie showed us some interesting points of the royal life. Some of them had been well-known via other Victorian movies (like the Romy Schneider version), but others are rather novel, like the funny rule that Victoria must hold the hand of a maid whenever she stepped up or down the stairs, and when she was having a date with Albert (given it a walk in the garden or a chess play by the stove) there would always be a group of “companions”. Maybe we shall thank the consultant of this movie, the former wife of Duke of York, Sarah Ferguson.

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