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If you’re going to have someone be Queen Victoria, it might as well be Judi Dench.
Victoria & Abdul focusses on the unexpected friendship between Queen Victoria and one of her Indian servants in her later years and the problems this caused within the royal court.
I feel like Victoria & Abdul is something of a detox for me. I saw it two days after my, let’s say, experience with mother! so I was in need of something a little light and a little silly.
Enter a charming little film about a royal interacting with a servant. Those are always a load of fun.
There are a few things to like about this movie. Judi Dench is of course made to be Queen Vic, having played her, among many other historical monarchs, before. Her interactions with Abdul, played by Ali Fazal, are quite sweet. She allows him to exuberantly explain his culture while serving her and this change in her life rejuvenates the old Empress.
The whole film is quite sweet and quite funny, if a bit by the numbers.
There are of course the people who don’t understand how a Muslim can be a friend to the Queen. There are of course scenes with some pretty awkward comedy that doesn’t quite work. You might as well be watching a period version of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
I can’t say there’s much wrong with Victoria & Abdul, it just happens to do exactly what it says on the tin and no more. Sorry, this review isn’t quite as mad as my one for mother! but then that’s an entirely different film!
Recommended Scenario: When you want a perfectly safe little film about bridging the gap between two people from very different backgrounds.