Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Young Victoria - A Review

Tomorrow, being the anniversary of Queen Victoria's birth, I thought I'd take a minute to review The Young Victoria, which the man of the house, and I watched recently.

My husband is not a big fan of romantic, period pieces, which this most definitely is, but he is a huge history buff, so I lured him by telling him I needed to preview the movie, to see if it was something we could show to the children. Not that he fell for that, but it was a date night, so he very kindly let me pick the movie.

But, I was really thinking of showing it, at least to the older children (ages 9-12). After all, if your going to teach about the kings, and queens of England, then Queen Victoria, is an excellent place to begin.

Her story has everything - loss of a father, a domineering mother, court intrigue, an arranged marriage (pretty well), family dynasties crossing international borders, parliamentary politics, assassination attempts, a teenage queen, and the tragic loss of true love, that caused her to morn for decades. Her story also leads nicely into a look at World War I, as you follow her children, and grandchildren, into marriages across Europe, leading to both the treaties, and the suspicions, that set the stage for war on a grand scale.

Back to the movie, though. Sadly, even given such great subject matter, excellent costumes, scenery, and acting, it drags to the point of being boring. And, despite the good people at Focus on The Family, giving it a 4 1/2 stars for family friendliness, I would not suggest showing it to your children. In fact, after watching the series of love scenes, which were not exactly raunchy, but still somewhat embarrassing in a voyeuristic kind of way, my husband announced, very firmly, that it was not to be shown to ours.

I know A&E put out a mini-series a few years back, entitled Victoria and Albert. I seem to remember it as being pretty good, but I can't remember if it's something the children would enjoy. I tried to get a copy in from a partner library, in time for Monday's Victoria Day, but the discs had been misboxed, and I ended up with Vanity Fair, instead. Should I ever manage to get my hands on the correct discs though, I'll let you know.

In the meantime, here are a few fun facts about the monarch, for children, I picked up from Project Britain (a great history site, by the way).

  • Victoria was 18 when she assumed the throne.

  • She reigned for 64 years, making her the longest reigning British monarch.

  • She was the first monarch to live in Buckingham Palace.

  • At the age of 21 she married her cousin Albert, a German prince.

  • They had 9 children, though Victoria hated being pregnant, and did not care for babies.

  • After Albert's death, at the age of 42, Victoria wore black for the rest of her life.

  • Queen Victoria survived 7 assassination attempts (though Prince Albert was never shot, trying to protect his wife, as depicted in The Young Victoria).

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Debbie said...

Thank you for your honest review of this movie. I have said many times one can not depend on all reviews.

Ticia said...

Well, now I know not to watch that one. I'm a history buff too, but have yet to find a good British monarchy movie.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

We watched Catherine the Great about Russian monarchy. I think The Young Victoria is positively prudent in comparison :) I didn't know all these facts about her - very interesting.