Stephen Frears - Victoria & Abdul (2017)
There has been a tendency lately for a kind of exaltation of the British Empire in cinema. In the last year we have had not only this film but also Viceroy's House as these kind of whitewashed views of imperial Britain. This film is not only that but also puts the main Indian character, the titular Abdul, as a servile anglophile in thrall to Queen Victoria.
So there is plenty here that irked me, and it was hard to move beyond the underlying politics of Imperialism, maybe related to the recent Brexit tinged nationalism. This doesn't mean that, if you can go beyond that, it isn't an enjoyable film. The acting here is great, particularly from the unimpeachable Judi Dench as Victoria. Unfortunately the only character that was saying what I was thinking throughout was Muhammad, the friend of Abdul which comes with him from India and who clearly is the only person with developed political views in the movie. At least there was one character. It could be worse.
I have to admit that in spite of abhorring the politics of the film I did get misty eyed towards the end of it, and the merit has to go to the actors who were selling me this story in spite of everything wrong with it. This film was nominated for oscars for best Costume Design and Makeup, and it's easy to see why, the pageantry on screen really makes for great costumes. (3/5)