Victoria & Abdul (2017)
A long awaited film for a Judi Dench fan, it didn’t let me down on her account. Stephen Frears, a royal family specialist, directs a lesser known story of Queen Victoria, Empress of India and her teacher and friend, Abdul Karim.
It was the curiousity of the story and how it would be presented, that drew me to it. The grandeur and pageantry is present, but the pace is haphazard. At times it moves too slow, at others too hurried, yet the royal protocols never seem to be in place where Abdul is concerned, from the first moment on.
Performances are average by the supporting cast, and let down further by the screenplay. Judi Dench, at the age of 82 shows us acting and character from every pore, line and wrinkle, whereas Ali Fazal is a worthy and an inversely proportionate tall co-star. He emotes volumes in his gestures and is not as much in awe as in reverence of his Queen and Empress.
It was a rare insight to what could have been her state of mind and loneliness, but we have to remain satisfied with conjecture and it’s limitations.