The Young Victoria
Cast: Emily Blunt Rupert Friend
Director: Jean-Marc Vallee
So we’ve started to reach that point with Emily Blunt.
Is the talented English actress going to become a true star in her own right, rather than supporting everyone else’s star? Or will she turn dull watching Rebecca Hall steal all her roles for the next decade?
The very talented English actress has been One to Watch since catching the critical eye, first in 2005’s My Summer of Love and as Meryl Streep’s other assistant in The Devil Wears Prada. Originally, it was assumed that The Young Victoria would be her potential star turn.
A year’s delay in release and a film suffering more knife wounds than Rasputin, it remains to be seen. Fluttering between youthful confidence and political naivete, Blunt is the best thing about this otherwise average costume drama. Beyond her performance, the slender story doesn’t have reason to exist on film besides the fact that every Oscar season needs a queen.
In fairness, The Young Victoria takes the mustached matron of later years and turns her on her head into a passionate youngster tormented by her power-mad mother and step-father and deeply confused by her marital prospects. Never mind that at a tender age 18, she is about to be thrust onto the throne of England during a turbulent age.
All this would make for an interesting story, if the queen herself had much to do with it. The impression left is of social upheaval happening outside the Palace walls. As a counterpoint, Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth felt like the lynchpin in her era. Blunt’s Victoria feels like she’s trying to keep the turmoil from compromising her social life.
Jean-Marc Vallee’s direction glows on the surface but doesn’t have much steel underneath. It’s pretty, but in that suspicious way. The final version takes an already thin story and chops it even thinner. The Young Victoria is a film that feels like it has been given the once-over twice.
What we’re mainly left with is a performance by Blunt that reminds us that she is still a comer. But she needs to find that role soon.