Writer: Lee Hall (Screenplay) Shrabani Basu (Book)
Starring: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Olivia Williams, Michael Gambon, Simon Callow, Eddie Izzard, Tim Pigott-Smith, Adeel Akhtar
Plot: Queen Victoria strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim.
Tagline – History’s most unlikely friendship
Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Enlightening Historical Moment
Story: Victoria and Abdul starts as Abdul Karim (Fazal) and Mohammed (Akhtar) are selected to travel from India to England to present Queen Victoria (Dench) with a gift from the Indian Empire. When Queen Victoria sees something in Abdul, sees becomes friends with him, learning about the Indian culture in a way she could never understand from the English textbook.
While their relationship becoming the talk of the palace, they even start to question whether it is good for her, but the relationship gives Queen Victoria a chance to express the lost loves of her life, a face she could never have on front of her subjects.
Thoughts on Victoria and Abdul
Characters – Queen Victoria is the elderly Queen of England, Albert has passed on, her children have their own lives and now she goes for countless routines of meeting different people, with most people almost waiting for her to die. When she befriends Abdul she gets a new lease for life and she looks to embrace the Indian culture. Abdul is a clerk from India, he gets selected to present Queen Victoria a gift, he soon finds himself being her closest aid, teaching her about the Indian culture, causing a potential rift in the royal household. He treats Queen Victoria like a person rather than a royal figure which is what helps her enjoy her later life.
Performances – Judi Dench is fantastic in the leading role, bringing us a performance that could rival her Mrs Brown performance as Queen Victoria too. Ali Fazal is brilliant in the partnership role with Dench, he helps give the light to the role that at times is treated with racial hate. The supporting cast across the board is great too showing all the different levels people treated outsiders.
Story – The story follows the later years Queen Victoria who became friends with an Indian clerk against the will of rest of the palace. We see how this gave her a new lease for life if only for a couple of years. The story that history wanted you to forget about becomes a fascinating watch because like most interesting moments in history they have faced being erased.
Biopic/History – Queen Victoria was one of the great known members of the royal family, the former longest ruling monarch, she had many stories and this is another one that shows us what she was like.
Settings – The settings all feel authentic for the time showing us what it was like for Abdul to learn the new culture.
Final Thoughts – This is a great history lesson on the iconic leader of the country. It has two wonderful performances and enough charm to enjoy for everybody watching.
Overall: Enjoyable historical film.