Victoria & Abdul
Year:
2017
Country:
USA, UK
Genre:
Drama, Biography, History
IMDB rating:
6.8
Director:
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: Abdul Karim arrives from India to participate in Queen Victoria's golden jubilee. The young clerk is surprised to find favor with the queen herself. As Victoria questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance that her household and inner circle try to destroy. As their friendship deepens, the queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes, joyfully reclaiming her humanity.
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Resolution 1916x796 px
File Size 3916 Mb
Codec h264
Bitrate 4924 Kbps
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Resolution 720x304 px
File Size 972 Mb
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Reviews
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.
2017-10-10
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.
2017-09-14
interesting, entertaining and very well acted, if a bit uneven
"Based on a true story… mostly." These opening words appear on the screen to set the tone for the historical drama "Victoria & Abdul" (PG-13, 1:52). The title characters are the U.K.'s Queen Victoria (who lived from 1819 to 1901, reigning from the age of 18 until she died at the age of 81) and her Muslim Indian servant, Abdul Karim (who lived from 1863 to 1909 and served the queen for the last 14 years of her life). Although Abdul is mentioned frequently in the queen's journal and correspondence, scholars only began seriously examining his life and his relationship with the queen over a decade after the 1951 publication of the memoirs of her head of the royal household, Frederick Ponsonby. Additional interest in Victoria and Abdul's relationship grew from Karim's diary which his family finally made public in 2010.

Indian author Shrabani Basu wrote the 2010 historical novel on which the movie is based, but screenwriter Lee Hall ("Billy Elliot") and director Stephen Frears ("The Queen") definitely took some liberties with history. They made a film which condenses the story (as most biopics do) and makes it somewhat light-hearted. They use the basic outline of the historical friendship between the title characters, add a few documented incidents from that relationship and fictionalize the rest of the story. They also choose to overplay certain personal characteristics of the people involved while downplaying others. For example, the real Abdul was more arrogant than the film shows and the queen's son wasn't quite as vindictive as portrayed, but every story needs conflict and having clearly defined heroes and villains helps. Regardless, the spirit of the relationship between Queen Victoria and Abdul Karim is depicted accurately and enjoyably. The two of them formed a close friendship and a very strong bond which occupied the queen for years – and defined Abdul's life, giving him a unique place in history.

It's 1887 and the U.K. is celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria (Oscar winner Dame Judi Dench). She's been Queen of the British Empire for 50 years, but officially been Empress of India for just over a decade. She knows little of the Indian subcontinent, but she is curious about it. When two native Indians, Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) and his friend Mohammed (Adeel Akhtar), are brought to London for the festivities and present a ceremonial coin to the queen, she takes a keen interest in them, especially Abdul. Mohammed hates the British because of their rule over his homeland, while Abdul takes a more positive approach, appreciating the honor of meeting the queen. She is bored with life as (eventually) the longest reigning monarch in British history – and is desperately lonely since the death of her husband years earlier. The friendship between Victoria and Abdul scratches itches for both of them.

When the queen expresses interest in Abdul and Mohammad, they are prevented from going back to India and become her servants for the duration of the jubilee, leading to many more interactions between Victoria and Abdul. His and Mohammad's extended stay gets extended further when the queen gives Abdul the title of Munshi (a type of teacher). At her request, Abdul instructs the queen in the Indian language of Urdu and in the Muslim faith. As the two grow closer, the members of the royal household increasingly object to the presence and rising position of this "common" Indian. Particularly strong objections come from her son, Bertie (Eddie Izzard), the queen's heir apparent. Bertie and other members of the court work to drive a wedge between Victoria and Abdul, but Abdul makes the queen happy and she does her best to stand up for him, even as he remains her devoted servant and friend.

"Victoria & Abdul" is an entertaining look at "history's most unlikely friendship". Hall's script weaves an intriguing tale, even if it does take liberties with the actual histories of the characters and oversimplifies the issues involved in their relationship. The comedic elements sometimes make the movie more enjoyable, but other times feel like silly and unnecessary distractions from what is inherently an interesting story. Although he has done better work helming 2016's "Florence Foster Jenkins", 2013's "Philomena", 1998's "Dangerous Liaisons" and directing Dame Helen Mirren to Oscar glory in 2006's "The Queen", Frears has given us another quality film. Still, its main strength is its acting. Fazal delivers a charming and sympathetic performance, while Dench again shows how well she knows her way around a cinematic throne, after winning an Oscar for portraying Queen Elizabeth I in 1998's "Shakespeare in Love" – and playing a younger Queen Victoria in 1997's "Mrs. Brown". It's a pleasure to watch the two stars interact, while the supporting cast does their share to make this occasionally uneven film well worth a look. "B"
2017-10-09
Superb story, awesome cinematography n costume design, terrific acting n wonderful film.
Abdul Karim arrives from India to participate in Queen Victoria's golden jubilee. The young clerk is surprised to find favor with the queen herself. As Victoria questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance that her household and inner circle try to destroy. As their friendship deepens, the queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes, joyfully reclaiming her humanity.
2017-10-14
Empty costume flick
For all the praise and glory this flick has received I must disagree!

Judi Dench is boorish as Victoria because it's just another Dench role she has perfected in previous movies. A strong willed hard nosed yet vulnerable woman. And Ali Fazal as Abdul comes across as more like a puppet than a person. The character development in both Victoria and Abdul is at a total loss.

I believe the other reviewers that speak so colorfully about his flick are overwhelmed by the magnificent production and photography and completely fail to see the thread bare script and transparent story line.

Four stars because it was pretty to watch.
2017-11-12
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.
2017-10-15
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.
2017-10-21
Judi Dench's return to old glory
Judi Dench returns to one of her most famous roles. And once again gives an undeniable great performance that is another notable entry on her great filmography. The film itself is not flawless but it is effective in what it tries to achieve. Director Stephen Frears wonderfully mixes drama with comedy and works with very up to date topics. In a way you could see the film as politically relevant for these days. The heart and soul of the film is of course Dench. She really has many memorable turns and really is the perfect choice to play this role. I don't think it will be enough for an Oscar nom, mostly because of the movie around her is "only" good but she should be a shoe in for a Golden Globe nomination. The problem with the film is that the core story is not that exciting and actually quite similar to the former Queen Victoria biopic "Mrs. Brown". However it is nicely photographed and has a fantastic score by Thomas Newman. Also the performance of Ali Fazal is quite decent, especially at the end. I like Michael Gambon's turn and Olivia Williams is memorable. The best performance besides Dench comes from Eddie Izzard tho who works his quite lone dimensional character quite well. Adeel Akhtar is a great comedic sidekick. Stephen Frears has done better biopics but also much worse. Its a very charming film. Touching, funny and thought provoking. Very cute in a way. Historically accurate? Well for some parts for sure but clearly not for all.
2017-10-04
It is a nice family movie
I loved it since it goes over an important piece of history and how cultures are different. It teaches the difference between a Western British culture and an Eastern Indian culture. My family loves it. I recommend this movie as it is funny, informative and sympathetic. I like the way mixing comedy with true stories.
2017-11-01
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.
2017-10-13
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