Victoria & Abdul Movie Review: Rating: 1.5/5 Stars (One and a Half stars)
Star Cast: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Eddie Izzard, Adeel Akhtar, Paul Higgins, Olivia Williams, Eddie Izzard
Director: Stephen Frears
What’s Good: Presence of Judi Dench, the tall doe-eyed Ali Fazal & some strikingly shot sequences.
What’s Bad: Fact of converting a fascinating tale into a crawling big yawn.
Loo Break: As many times as Ali Fazal uses the term ‘Her Majesty’
Watch or Not?: Only for sincere performances by Judi Dench & Ali Fazal (Nothing else!)
It all starts when a bookkeeper Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) is sent to England to present a coin (Mohar) to the Empress of India – Queen Victoria (Judi Dench). “Life is like a carpet, we weave in and out to make a pattern” – It all starts when Queen bowled over by this tallest man the house presents him to be her personal footman. Queen orders him to teach her Urdu and lessons from the Holy Book of Quran.
Evidently, the entire palace, unhappy with this starts to nitpicking Abdul’s flaws. The members planning on how to get rid of Abdul with some more scenes in which Frears try to build the connection between Queen & Abdul is what rest of the story is all about.
Victoria & Abdul Movie Review: Script Analysis
In an initial scene, we see Judi Dench snores while sleeping in the midst of a grand dinner – ironically I found myself in the same position just the dining table was replaced by a movie theatre. The story of the film never settles in one genre, at one point you’ll feel it’s pure drama but immediately a comic scene will follow which will end up being boring. Stephen has made this a mixture of many mundane moments.
The movie starts with a note “Based on true events… Mostly” and you wish the makers should’ve excluded the most part of it trying to stick with the true events. The story definitely is earnest but it’s shallow from its heart. Lee Hall’s screenplay gets repetitive after a point where you’ll just wish it to end.
Victoria & Abdul Movie Review: Star Performance
Judi Dench lives her role of Queen Victoria for one last time in this one. She’s brilliant with delivering her expressions on time & execution of perfect emotions. She leaves you with a thirst to watch her some more. Her chemistry with Abdul is the soul of the film.
Ali Fazal acts so innocently, at one point of time you’ll wish to go there and playfully cuddle his cheeks. To stand in front of a legend delivering lines is also an achievement. Ali with Judi Dench is the only reason which made me sit through the movie. He’s at his faultless best. There are a bunch of other actors, only Adeel Akhtar makes his presence felt with his impeccable comic timing.
Victoria & Abdul Movie Review: Direction, Music
Stephen Frears tries to fill John Madden’s shoes who directed Mrs. Brown – a worthy predecessor of Victoria & Abdul. He miserably fails at delivering what it should’ve been. A better director with a better treatment is what all this story needed.
Music is by Thomas Newman and there’s nothing new man (Yes! I’m lame when I get bored). In some scenes, he has tried to infuse some music which tries to be stereotypical Indian but sounds like ones we used to have in our childhood video games. Alas! The movie isn’t good to ears too.
Victoria & Abdul Movie Review: The Last Word
I wish we could’ve bid farewell Judi Dench with a more memorable Queen Victoria role. There are a lot of options this week and this one will surely drown in the flood of other movies.
Victoria & Abdul Movie Trailer
Victoria & Abdul Movie releases on 3rd October, 2017.
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