Victoria & Abdul (2017)
Directed by Stephen Frears
Based on the book Victoria & Abdul by Shrabani Basu
Screenplay by Lee Hall
Starring: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Eddie Izzard, Olivia Williams, Adeel Akhtar
The aging queen Victoria (Dench) starts an unlikely friendship with Abdul (Fazal), a clerk from India.
This story is based on the book Victoria & Abdul, written by Shrabani Basu. The film was written by Lee Hall (War Horse) and directed by Stephen Frears (Philomena). The cast of the film includes Judi Dench (Skyfall), Ali Fazal (Furious 7), Eddie Izzard (The LEGO Batman Movie), Olivia Williams (Rushmore), and Adeel Akhtar (The Big Sick).
This is a touching and sometimes emotional story, crafted by Lee Hall from Shrabani Basu’s book. The writing sets up the era of the film through some very nice early scenes. The character introductions are also nicely written. The writing does a great job building the relationships between all of the characters. These different relationships really build the core of the story. The dialogue is good as well. There is a nice mix of humor and drama throughout the movie. This is a good story, but also a very safe story. There is a level of predictability in the story due to the obvious desire to play it safe. This isn’t a major issue, but there aren’t any real surprises in this one.
The actors did an incredible job elevating this material. Judi Dench delivers another great performance in this one. The physical performance she gives is as important as he connection to the dialogue. She also has great chemistry with co-star Ali Fazal. Fazal is equally good in his performance. The movie further benefits from good work from Williams, Izzard, and Akhtar. Overall, the cast really did great work in this one. The chemistry within the cast is evident, and it pays off throughout the movie.
This film earned two Oscar nominations; one for Best Costume Design and the other for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. These are well-deserved nominations that highlight two of the best aspects of the production. The cinematography and locations used further add to the visual success of this one. The movie also has an incredible score, composed by Thomas Newman (Bridge of Spies).
This is a fun film with a lot of heart and emotion. While the story is somewhat predictable, the performances are strong enough to make this worth watching. I would recommend this one to fans of the stars. I would also suggest this one to fans of biographical films. I give this one 3.7 out of 5 stars.