Victoria & Abdul Overall Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
We at the South Asian Buzz love a good period drama. When Victoria & Abdul came out we knew we had to go see it! Victoria & Abdul is based on the real friendship between the monarch and an Indian man who starts as a servant and becomes close confidante. Queen Victoria is played by the formidable Judi Dench while Ali Fazal plays the part of Abdul Karim. The movie is directed by Stephen Frears and has a rating of PG-13.
What we liked:
The laugh out loud moments: Victoria & Abdul delivers a considerable number of those in the first two thirds of the movie. The comedic timing of certain scenes is wonderful as is the tongue in cheek humour directed towards the British attitudes at the time.
Performances: Judi Dench never disappoints and her portrayal of Queen Victoria was impressive. We also really enjoyed the role, albeit small, of Mohammed played by Adeel Akhtar. It contributed to the humour of the movie and also partially filled some of the ‘gaps’ in the movies narrative.
Watching the court in action: While admittedly one dimensional, we did get some interesting insights on court politics. More specifically we see the consequences of Queen Victoria’s dogged devotion to her friend. Our research after watching the movie reveals that the deep friendship was very much real as were the reactions of her court.
What we didn’t like:
Without giving away too much the movie is a little shallow. It does not portray much of the underlying complexity of colonialism and it’s deep consequences. The idea that the Queen is blissfully ignorant of the real impact of Colonialism and somehow absolved of it because she has an Indian friend is unsettling at best. The character of Abdul, although charming, also displays a sycophantic one dimensional nature. After a fairly strong start these elements come more to the fore as the movie ends on what we think is a disappointingly corny note.
Did you watch the movie? What did you think? Drop us a line and let us know!