I thought I knew the plot going into the theater. The story of Victoria and Albert is one of the great love stories of all time. What I did not realize was how many people were conspiring against her politically, royally, socially and romantically. The fact that these two crazy kids ever got together in the first place is nothing short of miraculous.
Victoria (Emily Blunt) learns at a very young age that she is the only living heir to the throne. Her father, the Duke of Kent, is dead, and her brothers, King Leopold (Thomas Kretschmann) and King William IV (Jim Broadbent), are following her young rise with great interest—and a good deal of self-interest. Her mother (Miranda Richardson) has allied herself with a power-hungry noble, John Conroy (Mark Strong), who wants nothing more than for Victoria to sign away her right to the throne until she is older, thus allowing her mother (and him) to rule England.
Meanwhile, Leopold sends his own spy, the young Prince Albert (Rupert Friend), to infiltrate the house of Hanover. Albert, however, has a mind and heart of his own. He sees how Victoria is being manipulated by an ambitious politician, Lord Murdoch (Paul Bettany), and wants nothing more than to be with her so they can fight off the wolves together—well, that’s the romantic’s version.
This film is absolutely wonderful. It captures the grandeur and complexities of the monarchy with hair-raising power. Emily Blunt should be getting Oscar buzz for her layered performance as the powerful but vulnerable queen. A word of advice, though: You may want to Google the royal family tree as sometimes it is difficult to tell the players apart without a score card. Other than that, the film is a beautiful period piece that describes a love story that survived against all odds. It's a 9.