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Victoria and Abdul
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
Densch Steals the Show
This is a fictionalized account of an actual relationship between Queen Victoria and England and an Indian man who befriends her, becoming an adviser. While the story is probably greatly exaggerated, it tugs at our hearts. The old Queen, now in her eighties, is tired and bored with the role she needs to play. Our modern Elizabeth must have trouble attending all those public events, having to exude a persona. Anyway, Abdul brings light toe the darkness, much to the dismay of Bertie (the Prince of Wales and later Edward VII) and the other courtiers. Because his ways are so foreign and he doesn't fall into the sycophantic trap other must sustain, he becomes refreshing. Not that there aren't some pitfall. He withholds some information from the Queen at times (more lies of omission) and she feels betrayed. Classism is so dominant, particularly at this time in history with the breadth of colonialism in the British Empire that its ugly head is put forth time after time. Judy Densch is amazing as Victoria. She has all the angst of a person who sees no positives in her world, and then she sparkles as she begins to realize what life could offer. I don't know how accurate the portrayals are, but it is a delight and we would hope that much of it is true.
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..
Victoria & Abdul Film Review
The new drama film Victoria & Abdul based on a true story starring Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Tim Pigott-Smith, Michael Gambon, Eddie Izzard, Olivia Williams.

Victoria & Abdul the extraordinary true story of an unexpected friendship in the later years of Queen Victoria's (Academy Award winner and English actress Judi Dench - Goldeneye, Skyfall) remarkable rule. When Abdul Karim (Indian actor Ali Fazal - Furious 7), a young clerk, travels from India in the Middle East to participate in the Queen's Golden Jubilee, he is surprised to find favor with the Queen herself. As the Queen questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance with a loyalty to one another that her household and inner circle all attempt to destroy. As the friendship deepens, the Queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes and joyfully reclaims her humanity.

Amongst the other actors / actresses in Victoria & Abdul includes the late English actor Tim Pigott-Smith who sadly passed away earlier this year on 7th April 2017 at the age of 70 (Johnny English, The Remains Of The Day) as Sir Henry Ponsonby, Yemen born / British comedian and actor Eddie Izzard (Valkyrie, My Super Ex- Girlfriend) as Bertie, Prince Of Wales Queen Victoria's son, Adeel Akhtar (The Big Sick, The Dictator) as Mohammed, Republic Of Ireland actor Michael Gambon (TV Series Fortitude, Layer Cake) as Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, Scottish actor Paul Higgins (UK TV Series Line Of Duty, In The Loop) as Dr. Reid, English actress Olivia Williams (Sabotage, Maps To The Stars) as Lady Churchill, English actress Fenella Woolgar (Mr. Turner, Swallows And Amazons) as Miss Phipps, English actor Julian Wadham (Churchill, The Iron Lady) as Alick Yorke, English actor Robin Soans (Viceroy's House, The Queen) as Arthur Bigge Irish actress Ruth McCabe (Philomena, Breakfast On Pluto) as Mrs. Tuck, English actor Simon Callow (Amadeus, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls) as Puccini, Sukh Ojla (TV Series Hospital People) as Mrs. Karim Abdul Karim's wife, Kemaal Deen-Ellis (Assassin's Creed) as Ahmed, English actor Simon Paisley Day (Flawless) as Mr. Tyler, Penny Ryder (Wimbledon, My Week With Marilyn) as Grand Duchess Sophie, Scottish actor John Stahl (Scottish TV Series High Road, A Sense Of Freedom) as Ghillie, English actor Tim McMullan (The Queen, The Woman In Black) as Tailor and Northern Ireland actor Jonathan Harden (Rise Of The Footsoldier part 2, The Good Man) as Kaiser.

Filming locations in Victoria & Abdul include cities, countries, places like Agra, India, Delhi, India, Middle East, London, England, Windsor Castle, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, York, North Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Isle Of Wight, UK, Balmoral Estate, Scotland, Cairngorms, Highlands, Scotland.

Overall Victoria & Abdul is a good drama film filled with drama, royalty, family, friendship, togetherness, falling outs, arguments, tongue and cheek stuff, some funny moments, some odd bizarre moments, stunning scenery in both the UK and India, rainy and cold weather, opera type music, bag pipes, a good insight in to the true story behind the friendship between Queen Victoria and Abdul Karim, outstanding performances from Judi Dench and Ali Fazal and many other things throughout the film.

So I will give Victoria & Abdul an overall rating of 3 out of 5 stars and Victoria & Abdul is worth seeing if you like drama films based on true stories like Viceroy's House, Mrs. Brown, The Queen, Lion, Ghandi, The King's Speech, The Iron Lady amongst others.

So if you get the chance to see Victoria & Abdul in the cinema then you should go and see it sooner than later.
Surprisingly endearing
My wife and I attended a preview screening last night with no preconceived ideas about the movie, not having even seen a trailer.

We were immediately drawn in and pleasantly surprised by the story, even though we thought it may have been a little far fetched. Until we found that it is a biography and mostly fact. That made the story even sweeter.

Dame Judy Dench's acting was peerless as usual, but by far the biggest revelation was Ali Fazal, who put in a wonderful performance from comedic through emotionally intense.

There was so much I didn't know about Queen Victoria's twilight years that this movie put into perspective, in a way that was consistently entertaining. We laughed and cried. Highly recommended.
Bitterness Stifles Advancement
Mohammed and Abdul are plucked from their livelihoods like plush toys cradled by a claw. An insignificant coin must be presented to the Queen of England by authentic Indian men for some apparent reason. This exchange is to be done in person, and this homey pair will cross hemisphere lines to fulfill a culture quota.

Both men are aware of the atrocities that the British Empire has carried out on their homeland, but take different approaches in displaying their distaste. Mohammed is a blunt viper with little tolerance. He is beyond justified in his insults, but sleeping in the royal palace dulls his temper.

Abdul has developed a strange admiration for his abductors. He wishes to shape a hybrid history that waters down both the oppressors' actions as well as the natives' reactions. Once in the Isles, Abdul becomes enamored by colonization, and draws parallels to his own country's vivid ledger of creative borrowing.

This whimsical attitude of inclusion leads to one of the most unlikely friendships of all time. A simple glance upon her majesty, and a Hindu coin-bearer opens a door to cultural exchange that will influence the very architecture of the palace he was booked for an one night stay in.

Victoria has reached the down-slope of her storied lifespan. Every soul that she truly loved has vanished into sleep, and she is awfully tired. Once an ambitious and vicious ruler, now a pile of apathetic hunger. Napping between dishes, finally a sight crosses her plane of vision interesting enough to indulge in.

The pair exchange language, food, and art at a ferocious rate. Class struggles dissipate on a daily basis, and the marginalized subcontinent holds the attention of the most powerful woman in the world. Their spokesperson is a dangerously optimistic Muslim whose boldness irritates everyone except the one who sits on the throne.
Judi does it again
What an amazing movie, Judi is as usual, such a wonderful actress portraying Queen Victoria once again. The story line is fantastic and it flows beautifully. This would have to be the best film for me this year. I love how they made this film so funny, and yet so touching. I laughed and I cried all the way through.
Mildly diverting...mostly
The movie starts with "Based on a true story...mostly". The card serves as both a heads up about the facts -- and a sort of inoculation against criticism. The tale is based on the story of an unlikely friendship between Queen Victoria and an Indian commoner Abdul Karim. Through happenstance, Abdul is ported to late 19th Century England to bestow a gift from her ruled subjects in India.

The movie takes liberties with it's details. And, how. Adopting an almost frothy tone from the beginning, you can't help but think that is an outright fairy tale. Specialty films often like a little exoticism and picturesque settings (BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, THE QUEEN) to make any uncomfortable truths go down much easier. Little reason to worry here, as VICTORIA rarely digs very deep below the surface (the fact that India is tightly ruled over by the British Empire comes off as little more consequential than a disagreement over what tea to have at breakfast).

But, if you are making a movie about monarchy you can't do better than go with the reigning queen of screen queens - Judi Dench. Excuse me, DAME Judi Dench. Abdul is played by Bollywood star Ali Fazal. You can see his charisma despite a lack of true depth to his role. When the movie finally begins to take itself seriously in the last act, it is fortunate that Dench and Fazal help smooth the bumpy transition. It's unfortunate that you see in those final scenes, the movie VICTORIA AND ABDUL could have been. Director Stephen Frears has certainly shown the ability to bring more gravitas to his films (THE GRIFTERS, DANGEROUS LIASONS), but, like last year's Meryl Streep movie FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS, he saves most of it to small passages here and there.

VICTORIA AND ABDUL is mildly diverting...mostly.
Compelling and Enjoyable
This epic film which I saw in the Cinema is an outstanding tale about the real life (mostly) as in the start credits about Queen Victoria and her Indian Servant Abdul Karim. first there was Victoria and Albert now the sequel.

The film starts with how the Queen met Abdul and how their close friendship was formed despite the court antipathy shown to the relationship. The Queen learns about India and its culture directly through her servant Abdul who even teaches her Hindistani.

The film focuses on real events done with a good dramatic setting suitable to the times with scenes on Royal Banquets and Plays in relevance to the story and its relation to the historical basis. The chemistry is works between the two main characters and the leading antagonists who scheme in every way to oust Abdul reflecting the colonialist mentally of the time. Contrary to the age of Empires being called Victorian the figure who the era of the 19th century is named after was not colonialist at all and this separate and fair portrayal of Politics and relationships are deeply demonstrated.

My one complaint is the better way for the film to capture the Anti-Muslim sentiments of the time would be to demonstrate Europe's relationship with the ruling Turkish King Abdul Hamid at this who was the Caliph with demonstrations from prominent imperialists such William Gladstone with direct references to the Sudanese Mahdi and the Indian Mutiny.

The end scene is very captivating and visceral when the Queen dies and Abdul acts like a son to her more then her heir the future Edward VII did. To add insult to injury all the books to which they had learnt Hindistani are destroyed saving only a priceless hidden relic with Abdul returning to India remembering the good times with Victoria. This film acts as respectable tribute to a remarkable relationship that is as relevant today as then with one man's silent story finally to the world.
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!
Royal carry-on
Very much a 'companion piece' to MRS BROWN (1997), this cosy piece of royal hagiography finds the Old Girl nearing the end of her reign, her health and her hearing in decline, curmudgeonly and sorry for herself. The arrival of a humble but handsome Indian clerk at Bucking-ham Palace brings a sparkle to her fading eyes. The rest of the court are aghast as Abdul slips swiftly into the role of latest (and last) Best Friend, the role previously – and a lot more cavalierly - occupied by John Brown.

Re-casting Judi Dench as Her Majesty gives the story continuity as well as a degree of credibility, though this is rather obviously a small moment of monarchy stretched into a full-length comedy-drama. Even playing a frail old biddy, Dame Judi is at full throttle, calling to mind Edith Evans's unforgettable Lady Bracknell and Bette Davis's Elizabeth the First as much as other portrayals of Queen Victoria. Ali Fazal is as beguiling as he needs to be, although his grumpy companion Mohammed (Adeel Akhtar) steals many of their scenes, playing Sancho Panza to Abdul's Quixote. Tim Pigott-Smith's swansong as the head of the royal household has a pantomime grandeur to it; and Michael Gambon's Lord Salisbury and Eddie Izzard's Prince of Wales bring gloriously camp echoes of the Carry-On franchise, as - especially - do Olivia Williams's Lady Churchill and Simon Callow's cameo as Puccini.

Directed with great verve, wittily scripted and sumptuously produced, this is a charming - and touching - slice of ho-hum history.
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