The first Queen Elizabeth has been the It Girl of the British monarchy in recent times in Hollywood. Queen Victoria now gets royal treatment with Emily Blunt ("The Devil Wears Prada") as the empire's longest-reigning ruler in her early years.
"The Young Victoria" is good, old-fashioned period drama - not terribly lively, not terribly insightful, but rich in pageantry and fine moments of drama, the whole show hinging on a beguiling performance from Blunt.
Blunt brings endearing zest, impetuousness and imprudence to this woman who eventually would grow into a symbol of sober, imperious widowhood for much of her time on the throne.
Director Jean-Marc Vallee introduces Victoria at age 17, shortly before the death of her paternal uncle King William IV (Jim Broadbent). As Victoria ascends to power, Blunt captures a nice balance of ambivalence and backbone. Meanwhile, her maternal uncle King Leopold I of Belgium (Thomas Kretschmann), grooms his nephew - her cousin - Albert (Rupert Friend) to woo the future monarch. Blunt and Friend present a picture of quiet affection and devotion, a deep passion that plays out with stately restraint in public and playful ardency in the bedchamber.
The sets, costumes and landscapes are gorgeous. The pomp of Victoria's coronation is so exhilarating you may wish the filmmakers had lingered longer on the ceremony.
Cate Blanchett has done the youthful and middle-age Elizabeth I in two films. There's a lot of ground left to cover in Victoria's life, and it would be a welcome reprise if Blunt came back to carry on the story.