Victoria and Abdul is way, way better than I was expecting and had me chuckling along almost the entire film (not just at the comedic moments but how ridiculous the whole scenario is).
The film covers a rather unusual period in Queen Victoria’s later life where she, for want of a better word, ‘adopts’ an Indian who then teaches her the Muslim ways of life. I cannot really describe what type of film this is as it’s loosely based around a book (I think), however, it’s obviously a bit loose on its historical accuracy and likes to highlight the pettiness and racist tendencies of the upper class. And then its extremely funny, not laugh out load exactly but constantly grin making (normally because you cannot believe what is going on).
Acting all round is superb and some of the performances of the Queens staff are excellent, although the two main leads are equally as good. Judi Dench is simply mesmerising, she really is as good a Queen Victoria as you will ever see. There are some scenes with extreme close-ups of her face when she’s eating and you can just see the contempt in her eyes. If you ask people what Queen Victoria looks like they will probably have her face come to mind. It really is a faultless performance and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Oscar went her way. Then we have Ali Fazal as Abdul. He has such a joyous and happy face and his portrayal of Abdul is equally as joyful to watch. You cannot help but warm to him and really root for him to succeed. Apparently this is his first major role and I can really see him going far after this performance.
I don’t like to say this would be better suited to the older generation as my kids did enjoy it, however, I really do think people of a certain age would find it even more entertaining…….one to watch with the grandparents perhaps?
Verdict: V & A was a big surprise and a complete delight from start to finish. Just proves you don’t need action for a highly entertaining film.