ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – Y – The Young Victoria (2009)

Director: Jean-Marc Vallee

Writer: Julian Fellowes (Screenplay)

Starring: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent, Thomas Kretschmann, Mark Strong

 

Plot: A dramatization of the turbulent first years of Queen Victoria’s rule, and her enduring romance with Prince Albert.


Tagline – She was the queen of an empire, but her heart belonged to one man.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Biopic

 

Story: The Young Victoria starts as young Victoria (Blunt) has been guarded from the world, knowing she will be next in line for the throne, Sir John Conroy (Strong) has been trying to get her to sign a regency order, meaning he would become king until she came of age, only for Victoria to refuse. We follow her 17th year as she starts meeting suiters for her husband, Belgium’s Prince Albert (Friend) being the prime candidate.

When King William (Broadbent) dies, it places Victoria in the position of Queen of England, Lord Melbourne (Bettany) must try to guide her in the decisions that she may face, while Victoria and Albert stay in contact through letters, that shares their love.

 

Thoughts on The Young Victoria

 

Characters – Victoria was raised to become Queen one day, forced to follow strict rules including walking down stairs holding somebody’s hand and sharing a bedroom with her mother. She is always under pressure about signing a regency, only to refuse because she knows that one day she will become Queen, she wants to make her rule, her own, which sees her wanting to pick her love, instead of following the rules the rest are trying to place for her. Prince Albert is the son of King Leopold of Belgium, the two fall in love and know that their union will keep the countries together stronger. Lord Melbourne is the advisor to Victoria, he has his own agenda which he wants to put into place, making him a danger figure in her connection to the common people of England. The Duchess of Kent is the mother of Victoria, who has been following the rules to protect her daughter and stuck following whatever John Conroy says.

PerformancesEmily Blunt shines in this leading role as the young Victoria, she brings the grace and determination to change the country through with her performance which you could believe the real Victoria doing to Britain. Rupert Friend as Prince Albert is wonderful too as he shows us the one person that would truly stand up against the Queen as many others would be in fear of her. Paul Bettany and Miranda Richardson round off the main cast as they both are great in their roles through the film.

StoryThe story follows the firs year that Queen Victoria was on the throne, we see how she had to learn quickly with how the politicians would try to sway her, meet a husband and try to help sort out a country with big divides between the upper class and the lower class. We see that even at a young age she was able to make these decisions to bring Britain forward and mark herself down as one of the most important leaders the nation ever saw. After becoming a fan of The Crown this was an easy story to step into as smaller moments made sense, if you don’t know certain historic rules the Queen must follow, you might not get why certain scenes in the film happen.

Biopic/History/RomanceThis movie shows us how important Queen Victoria’s reign was, we might only follow around a year, but she wanted to start making changes early on which will later become her legacy, the romance that she goes through shows how the Albert came into her life and showed her, they could rule together if they challenged the rules they believed to be wrong.

SettingsEach setting used in this film feels like the true settings we would see the royals living in, each one shows just how they could be living in the upper class, with the set design showing the beauty within the buildings.


Scene of the Movie –
The ride around town which changed everything.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We do have certain rules that never get explained, which people might not understand.

Final ThoughtsThis is a beautifully shot biopic that shows us the first year’s reign of Queen Victoria, the difficulties she faced and how she overcame them all.

 

Overall: Must watch historical drama.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – D – Demolition (2015)

Director: Jean-Marc Vallee

Writer: Bryan Sipe (Screenplay)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper, Judah Lewis, CJ Wilson, Polly Draper, Malachy Cleary

 

Plot: A successful investment banker struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. With the help of a customer service rep and her young son, he starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Drama

 

Story: Demolition starts as we meet Davis (Gyllenhaal) our successful banker whose world comes crashing down when his wife is killed in a car accident. His boss and father in law Phil (Cooper) tries to help him through the loss, but Davis finds himself spending time writing to a vending company that failed to give him a snack, moments after his wife’s death. Davis gives them full story on what is going on in his life, because he isn’t showing the sense of loss everyone expects him to.

Davis finds himself getting obsessed with fixing things that are broken by taking them apart, which leaves a string of broken appliances, but soon he starts having conversations with a customer service agent Karen (Watts) who was moved by his letters.

As Davis connects more with Karen the two start to get into a relationship as Davis looks to rebuild his life and move on with everything.

 

Thoughts on Demolition

 

Characters/PerformanceDavis is a successful banker who life get turned upside down, he struggles with the loss of his wife which finds him determined to just destroy things that need to be fixed which puts his current life in danger of going off course. Karen is the single mother that befriends Davis once he starts complaining about his experience with the vending machine. She is undecided where she wants her life to go but sees something in Davis that she wants to help. Phil is the father-in-law and boss that wants help him but is getting tired of his destructive nature.

Performance wise, Jake Gyllenhaal is great in this leading role carrying the film with his performance, Naomi Watt is great in the supporting role with Chris Cooper who always gives us good performances.

StoryThe story here focuses on one man dealing with the loss of his wife, we see how he enters into a strange reason of just wanting to break stuff to get through the grief. This is a strange way to vision this but it clearly the best way to show us how difficult it would be to lose a loved one.

SettingsEach setting shows us just how difficult the life Davis is now living through which is important for us to see.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good drama about grief and dealing with it all in your own way, it does show how difficult it can be but how important it can be to let someone go through it in their own way.

 

Overall: Nicely placed drama that went slightly under the radar.

Rating

 

 

Wild (2014)

wildDirector: Jean-Marc Vallee

Writer: Nick Hornby (Screenplay) Cheryl Strayed (Memoir)

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Keene McRae, Michiel Huisman, W Earl Brown, Gaby Hoffman

 

Plot: A chronicle of one woman’s 1,100-mile solo hike undertaken as a way to recover from a recent personal tragedy.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Drama

 

Story: Wild starts as we Cheryl (Witherspoon) getting prepared for her 3-month hike along the Pacific Crest Trail to help herself get over the recent death of her mother. We watch how Cheryl’s life had been fallen apart before this challenge including throwing away her own marriage.

Wild is a slow drama showing how one woman went on her own redemption story going on an almost impossible hike that even the most experience drop out off. We get to see what drove her to make this decision but in the end it feels like a glorified story that we have seen before. You do have to give Reese Witherspoon praise for her performance but in the end this is easily a forgettable film that got Oscar nods for no reason.

 

Overall: Disappointingly overrated drama that is fine but nothing special.

Rating

 51

 

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

logoDirector: Jean-Marc Vallee

Writer: Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack (Screenplay)

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, Denis O’Hare, Steve Zahn, Michael O’Neill, Dallas Roberts, Griffin Dunne, Kevin Rankin

 

Plot: The story of Texas electrician Ron Woodroof (McConaughey) and his battle with the medical establishment and pharmaceutical companies after being diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1986 and his search for alternative treatments that helped established a way in which fellow HIV-positive people could join for access to his supplies.

 

Verdict: Brilliant

 

Story: Watching as a once naïve Ron filled with homophobic hatred learns that everyone is in the world and just wants to live as well as willing to do anything to survive. He grows to accept everyone as an individual by going up against all the rules to give everyone who wants to prolong their lives a chance to get their hands on non-approved drugs instead of using the FDA ones that were actually shortening people’s lives. What is incredible about this film is that one man can change so much to go from a user and abuser into a hero for a group of people with no hope. (10/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Matthew McConaughey: Ron Woodroof a man’s man cowboy who likes to drink, sleep around and do plenty of drugs. Once he gets given the diagnoses of HIV his friends turn on him and his personally life takes a drastic turn when he becomes the hero for the HIV and AIDS sufferers. Matthew is brilliant and fully deserved his Oscar for this performance. (10/10)

 matthew

Jennifer Garner: Eve a doctor at the local hospital who has moral question about the drugs test going on in the hospital while she keeps losing patients to Ron’s club. She supports furthering these people’s lives but struggles to support the drugs begin used without research. Good performance from Jennifer who is great but really gets outshone by the male leads. (8/10)

garner

Jared Leto: Rayon a fellow sufferer from HIV who becomes business partners with Ron and these two create an unlikely friendship in their battle to prolong their lives. Jared is stunning and to say someone gave a better performance than Matthew this year was hard, I feel this is that better performance. (10/10)

 jared

Director Review: Jean-Marc Vallee – Great direction to create such a brilliant film that has a touchy subject matter, but gets bought to life so sensitively. (9/10)

 

Biography: Watching how Ron battled to get the drugs and change his ways to create a better life for everyone he helps. (10/10)

Drama: Brilliant drama to show the struggle the sufferers had to go through just to have a chance at a longer life. (10/10)

History: Great look at how people reacted to the disease that not many people knew how to cure. (9/10)

Settings: Each setting is recreated with great authenticity. (9/10)

Suggestion: This really should be watched by all, it is one of the best films you will ever see. (Watch)

 

Best Part: The performances from Leto and McConaughey.

Believability: True story. (10/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Won 3 Oscars including Best Actor and Supporting Actor

Box Office: $55,198,285

Budget: $5.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

Tagline: Dare To Live

Trivia:The budget was also so low for this film that only $250 was allotted to the makeup department. Amazingly the film’s artists were able to work within that figure and the film’s makeup and hairstylist won an Oscar.

 

Overall: Simply Stunning

Rating 96