Taking a direct jab at the ridiculousness of Royal pomp and circumstance, Victoria and Abdul finds Dame Judi Dench operating at the peak or her form. The story of the Royal with a billion subjects but no real friends alternates between tugging at the heart strings and igniting your sense of injustice.
Set in the late nineteen hundreds, director Stephen Frears (The Queen, High Fidelity) uses his actors as both visual and social symbols. Ms Dench’s face often fills the entire screen in extreme close up and both her expressive eyes and her lines of life really sell both her age and emotion. The actual Queen was in her eighties during this time in history.
Ali Faza (Furious 7, Bang Baaja Baaraat ) is perfectly cast as Abdul and he holds his own against the dame. His quiet dignity is in stark contrast to the ever emerging crazy emanating from the Queen’s staff as the two’s relationship blossoms. The members of the royal family and staff are portrayed as almost comic book bad guys.
Few films are made for mature audiences, so when one comes down the pipeline with the quality and emotional impact that Victoria and Abdul posses, it’s one to be both enjoyed and celebrated.