Victoria and Abdul


★★★★

Directed by Stephen Frears

Starring Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Eddie Izzard, Michael Gambon, Olivia Williams, and Adeel Akhtar

Film Review by Niall Maggs


Judi Dench already played Queen Victoria 20 years ago in Mrs Brown (1997). Is she just as good? it's Judi Dench, of course she is!

Adbul (Ali Fazal) is an Indian servant who is given the opportunity to travel to England with a companion (Adeel Akhtar) to deliver a Mohur (a special gold coin) to the Queen. Judi Dench is fantastic, as always, and steals every scene she's in, portraying the right amount of emotion without over doing it, and seeming unrealistic.

Also, Ali Fazal as Abdul is also very good, delivering an Oscar worthy, heart warming turn that makes you feel appalled by the way his character was treated because of his nationality.

Lee Hall's script was emotionally impactful. Filled with witty humour, heart wrenching dialogue which was flawlessly delivered from a stellar cast.

The music was effectively used to create a welcoming feeling and the tone was joyful, and gave the audience a feel good experience. The character development of Abdul is well written and was portrayed realistically, making us feel like Abdul is just down to earth and grateful. Because of this, the interactions between the Queen and Abdul is humorous to watch due to their class differences, and their characteristics. The Queen being of high status, and Abdul being a servant. The Queen being talkative, Abdul not so much at first.

Because of their status, the Queen learns of the Indian culture, and even begs Abdul to teach her Hindi. She learns things she was previously ignorant of, like the history of India, architecture, royalty, and she never even knew what a mango was! Highlighting the fact she was a lonely person and just wanted a friend to talk to.

This type of dialogue between the characters is so fun to watch, and shows how normal Queen Victoria really was. The way Stephen Frears directed Victoria and Abdul was expertly done and even brought up social issues such as class and status.

The camera work was simple, and relatively smooth. The overall film was well directed, acted, shot, and the storyline was filled with emotion and humour, that made you love, and even feel sorry for a lot of the characters. Victoria and Abdul was a really good study of friendship and history.

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