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Drama, Biography, History
IMDB rating:
Stephen Frears
Simon Callow as Puccini
Sukh Ojla as Mrs. Karim
Ali Fazal as Abdul Karim
Paul Higgins as Dr. Reid
Ruth McCabe as Mrs. Tuck
Julian Wadham as Alick Yorke
Robin Soans as Arthur Bigge
Judi Dench as Queen Victoria
Fenella Woolgar as Miss Phipps
Eddie Izzard as Bertie, Prince of Wales
Adeel Akhtar as Mohammed
Michael Gambon as Lord Salisbury
Tim Pigott-Smith as Sir Henry Ponsonby
Olivia Williams as Lady Churchill
Storyline: Queen Victoria strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
LQ 720x304 px 979 Mb h264 1230 Kbps mp4 Download
Fun, But Lacks Depth
Victoria and Abdul is the "'mostly" true story of the unlikely friendship between Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) and a Muslim Indian, Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal). Karim is sent from India as an emissary, and the Queen is taken with him and his easy personality, treats him with favor, and bestows honors on him. Her family and attendants, especially her son Bertie (later to be Edward VII, played by Eddie Izzard), dislike him and his influence and try to discredit him with the Queen.

Dame Judi is fantastic in this role. She plays ailing, grouchy, and old to perfection, then lights up the screen with grace, majesty and strength. It would not surprise me to see her win awards for this performance.

Fazal was also wonderful in his role as sweet, endearing, devoted to the Queen. However, his part was not three-dimensional--he was too perfect, too servile. The viewer was left wondering what made Abdul tick, and what his motives were.

In addition, the story (which covered the 15 years of Karim's service to the Queen) was short on plot. It was, instead, a string of tableaux in which both featured, but without their relationship developing or maturing. Furthermore, the portrayal of Queen Victoria as a liberal-thinking woman was, I think, colored more by wishful thinking than historical accuracy.

I did like the film, though. It is cute, sweet, and at times, funny, with a positive message of tolerance and equality. It was enjoyable to watch, but the lack of depth to the plot kept it from being fully immersive. The cast (supporting cast included) were all excellent, as mentioned. Overall, it's an fun light movie, but not one to rely upon historically.
Mind-Boggling Story Revealing the Racism of the Times
This incredible, historical film opened my eyes and made me better understand the world I live in. Given that racism is still a prevalent issue in today's society, it was mind-boggling to see it in Britain, at the turn of the 20th century. I admire how this film brings the past to the present, and made me question how racism can dissipate in the future.

This film carefully documents the relationship between Queen Victoria and her beloved servant, Abdul Karim. Queen Victoria reigned in the United Kingdom from 1837 to 1901. She was the longest serving monarch in world history. In addition to being a queen, she was also the Empress of India. Because of this, Abdul Karim and his friend Mohammed are sent from India to Britain to deliver a sacred coin: the Mohur. Abdul and Mohammed believe they are only going to remain in Britain for a short period of time, but they end up going on the adventure of a lifetime.

Judi Dench, who plays Queen Victoria, exceptionally portrays a queen who is tired of her constriction. All she wants to do is have Abdul be her full- time servant, but because of his origins, Queen Victoria's staff does not approve. Ali Fazal, who plays Abdul Karim, considers the queen a very special person and his kindness towards her is impeccable. He teaches her the Quran and shares his culture with her. As time goes on, both develop a strong friendship, which is truly heartwarming.

The setting is remarkable. I've never seen the Taj Mahal, Scotland or the queen's palace. This film takes the audience to all these places. After seeing the beauty in other countries, it makes me want to travel the world. My favorite part of this film is when Queen Victoria eats with her staff. She eats very quickly and, once she finishes her food, regardless if the others are done or not, the servants take all of the food away. It's hilarious to see people still eating their meals and have their food taken away in the blink of an eye.

The message of this film is that no race, culture or religion is subordinate to another, even though individuals are from many different backgrounds. Britain is usually portrayed as one of the most powerful countries, but not in this film. We have to learn to not categorize others as inferior because of their lifestyle. Differences make society beautiful. If we were all the same, everything would be boring.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to kids ages 15 to 18 as well as adults. There are undertones of adult subject matter throughout the film. Queen Victoria is infatuated with much a younger, married man, which is why an older audience is more suitable for it.

Reviewed by Samantha M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.
Victoria and Abdul
Momentarily after the new film, Victoria and Abdul starts, there is a title card that humorously tells us that the story we are about to see is inspired by true events, at least mostly as the playful title word play suggests. As you will later discover having watched the film, this statement not only about the film, but what takes place and what did apparently happen in reality may in some ways be found to be humorous, as there is a lot of comedy and things to find amusing within this account, but at the same time there is also tragedy that is all the more disturbing because it is not caused by unforeseen circumstances, or events, but instead at the hands of your fellow human beings, who still after all these years have racist and xenophobic tendencies that as much as we may progress as a human race in some ways, these are things that are unfortunately still alive and well as much as we wish they weren't. The film which is as we later learn based on journals and writings of one of our main characters, chronicles the friendship between then Queen Victoria of England and a man named Abdul, who is living over in India, which is then under British rule because of colonialism and she is considered to be Queen not only of England, but also as an Empress of India as well. How a very humble and in many ways, simple person such as Abdul should come not only to meet, but also befriend Queen Victoria, when in actuality they are literally world's apart, I will leave to your viewing pleasure to see the story unfold before you. This is a friendship much to the exasperation of not only Queen Victoria's staff, children and fellow ruling members of the British aristocracy, but even to Abdul, who comes from an entirely different background, culture and world than what he is introduced to when he comes to England in the presence of Queen Victoria. Instead of being pompous, or even hateful because of the British rule in his homeland of India, Abdul willingly serves and also befriends Victoria, and the two of them really bring out the best of themselves and also each other. We see how Victoria, is getting in many ways feeble and frail because of her old age and in a lot of ways she has little to nothing in common with her own family, or the people who work beside, or under her. She is respected by them, but as the film moves along these other counterparts who are meant to be loyal, really just seem to be in it for themselves, and their own best interests are at the heart of everything they do. Abdul, as I mentioned is extremely humble and unlike the fellow ruling class at that time, he is a man that seems not only full of life, but also of joy. Often when we see him, he has a gigantic smile on his face that is almost infectious and he has an optimistic attitude at most if not any time and situation. Victoria is often tired, bored and grows weary of everything that sits in front of her and yet Abdul breathes life and energy into her and makes her not only love the life that she has, but to treasure the things in her life and also what makes this world so very precious indeed. They write together, he teaches her and they just generally have a wonderful connection and bond to one another that I can safely say that she had with no one else within her quarters. For the sake of the monarchy and power that was in her grasp, her fellow servants, family and monarchy all try to stop Abdul, and get him as far away from her as possible, but even when he is threatened he remains both loyal and the best friend that Victoria could possibly have. This is a story of a friendship which knew no boundaries and a love that may have tried to have been suppressed, but instead grew all the more because of it. And instead of hating, or ridiculing each other because of culture, or other background issues, they instead embrace what each other and their culture and world views have to offer. There is a lot of beauty and hope to be found in this film by witnessing this relationship and in a lot of ways there is a gentle and kind quality to this film. We also do witness as I stated earlier the evil side of mankind which is just as prevalent today as it was back then. The film falls a little bit victim of melodrama and some clichéd if not familiar territory in the second half, but it still holds up well as a film as a whole and is a beautiful story that needs to be told and also a lesson in acceptance and tolerance that everyone should see. The performances are all spot on and this is a film not only to inspire, but also as a valuable life lesson of acceptance and even love which I think will win over even the most hardened of hearts.
More than a century before Princess Di was seduced . . .
. . . into converting to Extreme Radical Islam and had to be assassinated to prevent this Commoner from dragging Crown Prince Bill and Western Civilization down to Hades with her, devious deplorable degenerates duped Bill's Great- Great- Great- Granny Victoria into swallowing that Koranic Terrorist Manual hook, line, and scimitar. Victoria's Infamous Secret was NOT the girdle shown just six minutes into this VICTORIA & ABDUL expose, but rather her passion for writing out Terrorist Fatwas in subversive Urdu during her Alzheimer's Years. She was still at it on her Death Bed, as Depicted in VICTORIA & ABDUL, which documents her writing orders to her grandson--Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm--calling for him to start a "Great War" in a vain Mujahideen attempt to end Humanity. VICTORIA & ABDUL reveals that this Extreme Radical Islamic Terrorist Culture is ALL about bringing Death and Hell on Earth, as Leader Trump has been warning America like a boy crying "Wolf of Wall Street." Clearly the VICTORIA & ABDUL filmmakers will slap themselves on their backs for "a job well done" IF their flick can finally persuade the so-called United Nations to ban ALL Muslim international travel World-Wide, until such time as the world powers including Russia, China, and the USA can deal with these seductive terrorists' Home Viper Nests like folks powdering Ant Hills in their backyards!
Dench is Victoria
A good movie to watch and learn more about the intrigue in the castle. An Indian is chosen to present the coin to the Queen and he was chosen by his height. Consequently they become friends and teachers to each other. She had been so lonely and Abdul brought her spirits up and she was interested in life again. Bertie - her son - wants to be the king - so there is the backstage intrigue. But she was a very aware queen - and stayed true to herself till she died. Loved the photography of the scenery - although short. The many closeups of Victoria and Abdul are wonderful - well done.
Starts out as comedy, ends up as drama
"Victoria & Abdul" (2017 release from the UK; 112 min.) brings the story ("based on true events... mostly", we are reminded at the beginning, of the unlikely friendship between Queen Victoria and Indian Muslim Abdul. As the movie opens, we are in "Agra 1887", as we get to know Abdul, who works in the British Governor's Office. Abdul and one other man are selected by the Governor to participate in the Queen's Golden Jubilee and present her with a ceremonial coin. It's not long before these two are on their way to London. Meanwhile, we see the Queen in her daily (and mostly grumpy) routine. At the Jubilee dinner, Abdul, even though he was instructed not to make eye-contact, does so anyway... At this point we are less than 15 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is the latest movie from veteran British director Stephen Frears, who just last year brought us "Florence Foster Jenkins". Here, Frears brings to the big screen the unlikely friendship between the most powerful woman in the world at that time, and an ordinary man from India. The first part of the movie is more funny than serious (the awkward adaptation to the British life style, etc.) and at times feels a but light-weight. That changes in the second part of the movie (for reasons I obviously will not spoil). Judy Dench, who is now a crisp 82 years young, gives another fine performance as Queen Victoria (reprising the role she first played in "Mrs. Brown"), bringing the Queen's loneliness and sadness colorfully to the screen ("Albert's been gone for 30 years, and I think of him every day", she laments to Abdul). The photography is eye-candy from start to finish, check out in particular the scenes in Scotland and Florence, Italy. All that said, when a movie opens with the disclaimer "Based on real events... mostly", to me that translates as "we have taken major liberties with how things really happened, so that we could bring you this particular movie". From the looks of it, the "British Empire" was mostly benign as it relates to the Indian subcontinent. But was that really so?

"Victoria & Abdul" opened at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati on not one, but two screens a few weeks ago. The Tuesday evening screening where I saw this at was attended okay (at first it looked dismal, then at the last second a large group of women, at least 10 of them, walked in). If you like historical biopics, you are the target audience for this movie, and I encourage you to check this out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion..
Beautifully filmed, light hearted look at a serious issue
An elderly Queen Victoria battles to keep an affable Indian clerk as her "Munshi", or teacher.

Judy Dench gives another perfect performance as Queen Victoria- the first being 1997's Mrs Brown for which she received an Oscar nomination. Bollywood star Ali Fazal is completely believable as the young foreigner who brings light and laughter back into her life, and Eddie Izzard is amazing as the scheming Bertie, Prince of Wales.

Stephen Frears directs this masterfully with beautiful cinematography, but I found the movie a little unsatisfying in that a very political issue- that of racism and exclusion- was a little downplayed.

I would have liked to have seen how the changes of the Industrial Revolution had contributed to this xenophobia, and how our modern equivalent- whether you want to call it automation, the robot revolution, or just climate change- may be contributing to similar political movements today. Will we be able to explain Brexit, Trump's presidency, and the anti-immigration policies of Australia for instance, better in 100 years than we do now, do you think?

So in summary, a good movie, not great, as it could have been had it been a little braver.
an impossible love story
The history of England was blessed with several famous queens - starting with head-losers Anne Boleyn and Mary Stuart, continuing the two Elisabeth's and of course Queen Victoria, the record holder of longevity until recently, the queen who gave her name to a whole era of maximal glory and expansion of the British Empire. The big dames of English cinema were accordingly blessed with the respective fabulous roles that they love to bring to the big screens and are regarded as peaks of their careers. For Dame Judi Dench, Victoria and Abdul directed by Stephen Frears provides (for the second time actually) the opportunity to create a memorable portrait of Victoria. Her success in completing this task is the best part and the best that can be said and written about this production. Unfortunately, this is not the only thing that can be said and written about this film.

It's very difficult to disconnect the historical episode of the relationship between the old widow who was also the queen of the largest empire on earth at her time (and maybe at all times) and the Muslim servant from India who raised to become her secretary, counselor, spiritual adviser, friend, surrogate son and maybe more than all these, and the political situation today, 120 years later, when the divided Britain faced with the realities of globalization and immigration tries to put again sea and borders between her and Europe. The authors of the film invested quite a lot in describing the atmosphere of the imperial households and its corridors of power and gossip with the adequate costumes and decoration but they are talking all the time to the contemporary spectator while telling a story based on real history or facts as they happened ... or almost, as they cautionary and wisely warn us in the opening.

We are thus left with an impossible friendship and even love story, impossible because of a mountain of reasons: class differences, race prejudices, age gap, cultural and historical precipices. The only thing that can save such a film from falling in complete melodrama or faked rhetoric is the human dimension. In Victoria and Abdul this dimension is only partially delivered by the splendid acting performance of Judi Dench. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast cannot come even close to her class. Ali Fazal is fit physically but lacks the nuances that can explain some of the contradictions of his personality. We never know or really understand what is his real class background, whether the deepness of his knowledge in the Quran and oriental culture is genuine, or if he intentionally misled his beloved queen in the details of the history and realities of the inter-faith conflicts on the Indian continent. The rest of the cast is condemned to represent a gallery of half-ridiculous, half-perverse characters representing the British aristocracy class full of prejudice and bad faith. If only the caricature would have been pushed a little further we could have had more comical fun, but Stephen Frears could not really abandon the ambition of passing some important message about today's politics. In my opinion he failed, and the principal great merit of this film is telling a half-baked potential love story while allowing Judi Dench to add another great role to her illustrious filmography.
Dame Judi Reigns Supreme
Her second portrayal of the former queen is just as enjoyable as the fist time and the bonus is that with this (and Mrs Brown) it's based on fact. Of course they had to twist it a bit but that was to give it the humorous spin. Bertie is played brilliantly too! There were so many fun things that Abdul and Mohammed were experiencing their first days in England that I can imagine would be a novelty to someone from a hotter climate. Truly charming story.
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