Friday, January 22, 2010

The Young Victoria (Rhoades)

Young Emily Blunt Plays “Young Victoria”
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

I think I know more about the English throne than about my own family’s genealogy. After all, I’ve seen all the movies: “Elizabeth,” “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” “The Virgin Queen,” “The Madness of King George,” “The Tudors,” “A Man for All Seasons,” “Becket,” “The Lion in Winter,” “The Private Life of Henry VIII,” “The Other Boleyn Girl” – even “The Queen.”

Now we have “Young Victoria.” It’s currently holding court at the Tropic Cinema.
This is the dramatization of the tumultuous early years of Queen Victoria’s reign and her enduring romance with Prince Albert.

British-born Emily Blunt wears the crown this time around. You’ll recall her as the snippy assistant in “The Devil Wears Prada” and as the slacker sister in “Sunshine Cleaning.”

The 27-year-old actress has had practice. Her previous assignments have included TV’s “The Royal Family” and “Henry VIII.” And Blunt is best known for playing manipulative characters, good practice for a queen.

As a child, Emily Blunt suffered from a stutter. It was only when an acting teacher asked the 12-year-old girl to perform in a play using a different voice (a northern England accent, as it happens) that the stammer disappeared.

How did she snag the lead in “Young Victoria”? “My agent sent me the script and I really fell in love with her and the script,” says Blunt. “It seemed to be a very intimate portrait of a girl, rather than a queen. She was a girl who was under duress and huge pressure, and she was in love, so there was so much to play with and I knew it was such a rare find. I had to be quite pushy about getting them to cast me.”

Oops, maybe those manipulative roles were simply method acting, practice for getting these plum parts.

So what did she know about Queen Victoria before reading the script? “I didn’t know very much. I knew about the old lady with the thing on her head, looking really grumpy. I knew that she wore black and she had nine children. And, I knew that
Albert had died young. That’s all I knew.

“I remember my mom telling me about the fact that they had this incredibly loving, passionate relationship... But then, when I started reading about her, I was so surprised to see that she was the antithesis to what I imagined her to be. Everyone knows about the mourning and the grief, but no one knows why… When he died, she literally said, ‘How am I supposed to go on when half of my soul is gone? How am I supposed to live when half of my soul does not exist anymore?’ And, she really meant it. She never recovered. I think that’s what I loved about the film. It gives people an indication as to why she mourned him as ferociously as she did.”

Hm, maybe there’s more to learn about the British royal family than I thought.
[from Solares Hill]

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