BY MIA STEINBERG
Date released: December 18, 2009
Date watched: May 16, 2014
Why now? It’s Victoria Day in Canada on Monday, May 19, and I live in Victoria, British Columbia, so it’s a bit of a big deal around here. We usually have a parade.
Why not then? I was burned out on period movies like these—Pride and Prejudice, Becoming Jane, etc. My girlfriends all seemed to love them, but I always found them to be incredibly shallow and my film-studies brain would just get bored.
- Lots of very beautiful dresses and sets
- At least one emotional scene in which Emily Blunt says something queenly while holding back tears
- Dancing in ballrooms
- Romantic scenes, I guess
- A lot of reminders of other period pieces featuring strong feisty women in corsets
What I actually got:
- Many emotional scenes in which Emily Blunt said something queenly while holding back tears, while wearing beautiful dresses and standing on beautiful sets. That said, Blunt absolutely nailed the part, a true pleasure to watch, and her performance holds the rest of the film together
- Jim Broadbent giving a delightfully, scenery-chewing performance as King William IV; Paul Bettany in age makeup; and the always dependable Mark Strong as Sir John Conroy. Strong has recently hit my radar for his excellent work in films like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, so it was a pleasure to see him here, even if he only really got to gnash his teeth and wear a top hat
- Quite a lot more politics and history than I expected, which unfortunately leads to my next point:
- A frustratingly inconsistent tone and pacing. The film wavers back and forth between the budding romance of Victoria and Albert and the political environment in which Victoria served; both of these subjects would have made for excellent films, but there wasn’t enough time to give each of them the focus they deserved
- A semi-decent historical romance, with legitimate chemistry between the two leads, but all squished into the last third of the film
- So many emotional violin swells in the score that you could start a drinking game
One night-in stand or second date potential? I didn’t hate this film, but I probably won’t watch it again. Emily Blunt is fantastic, but the pacing problems are frustrating and the romance just isn’t as bodice-ripping as it wanted to be. It’s not a bad film, but it’s too fluffy for my tastes.
Mia Steinberg is a writer, radio host, tech nerd and professional neon redhead living in Victoria, BC. She can be found on twitter @MiaSteinberg, as well as on her radio show blog particlesandwavesshow.com.