[The Young Victoria]

The last in SIFF’s audaciously named “Festival Buzz Series”, The Young Victoria is a beautiful historical love story which touched me in a way I had expected Bright Star to do. Bright Star is the greater technical achievement, but Victoria has the heart I was looking for.

Emily Blunt is Victoria, soon to ascend the throne and beset on all sides by people seeking to control her & thus the empire, including the difficult-to-resist Paul Bettany as Lord Melbourne. She’s introduced to Albert (Rupert Friend) as yet another step in her carefully-vetted world, but against all odds they turn out to be true partners and an epic romance.

It’s wonderfully directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (C.R.A.Z.Y), who doesn’t get bogged down in dresses & stately homes and instead puts us right at the center of the politics, and it’s from the script by Julian Fellowes (ofGosford Park, of course, but almost better known to me as Kilwillie on “Monarch of the Glen”). A peek at his IMDb shows a film titled Emma & Nelson in development. Lord Nelson! How exciting! (If you are a big Age of Sail nerd, which I am.)

Charming, full of intrigue, and definitely one of my favorites of the year.

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