Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Quick Look: The Young Victoria (2009)

Jean-Marc Vallée's The Young Victoria is the kind of period-piece costume drama that is stuffed and mounted, often beautiful to regard but emotionally immobile. It’s not exactly airless, but it’s definitely stuffy. This is a facile telling of the early months of Queen Victoria’s reign, with scenes of splendor continually clipped, denying full enjoyment of the film’s best assets. The coronation scene is especially awkward in the way it is chopped off right when it’s getting good. The film is a great excuse to gather great actors with British accents (Jim Broadbent, Mark Strong, Paul Bettany, and Emily Blunt, who has the title role) and let them play dress up in Victorian clothes and romp about chewing the ornate scenery wherever and whenever the script allows. The film strands its cast leaving only a sad little whiff of underexploited potential. This is a dry and flavorless film. Worse than bad, it simply leaves no impact.

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