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Victoria & Abdul

Victoria & Abdul

History's most unlikely friendship.Sep. 14, 2017UK, USA112 Min.PG-13
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Victoria & Abdul 123 Full Movie Plot & Release Dates.

In “Victoria & Abdul,” a gilded let’s-tweak-the-Empire-but-not-really talkfest duet directed by Stephen Frears, our first encounter with Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) comes during a lavish lunch for her majesty’s golden jubilee. It’s 1887, and the 68-year-old monarch has been placed at the head of a dining table as long as a cricket field. She’s so bored and depressed that she can barely stay awake, so she eats herself into a food coma and looks ready to be wheeled out — that is, until Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), a 24-year-old Indian clerk who’s been chosen to present her with a mohur (a gold coin minted by British India), approaches her royal highness. Their eyes meet, agleam with a delight that’s nearly flirtatious, as if Tinkerbell had just sprinkled fairy dust on both of them.

And so begins a love affair: not a literal one, but a mother-son, master-servant, disciple-guru bond that will stay in place, and grow, for the next 14 years, right up until Victoria’s death, in 1901. There really was an Abdul Karim, and though “Victoria & Abdul” has a cheeky introductory title that says “Based on true events…mostly,” the movie, written by Lee Hall (who drew upon the 2010 book by the Indian journalist Shrabani Basu), sticks close to the particulars of how he came to be a special companion of Victoria’s. She referred to him as “the Munshi,” a word that to Victoria, in the movie, means spiritual teacher. But he’s really her elixir. His very presence makes her feel good.

If Queen Victoria, from minute one, seems not only familiar to us but, indeed, like an old friend, that may be because Dench, 20 years ago, in her first lead movie role, played her in “Mrs. Brown” (1997), another drama about the queen’s “inappropriate” relationship with the most unlikely of underlings. Then too, in the couple of decades since, Dench has played nearly every role as if it were a species of misbehaving royalty: the cutting wit and puckish superiority, the way she has of laughing — or crying — invisibly beneath that dour scolding visage. Dench is 82 now, but she remains the world’s most formidable pixie, and in “Victoria & Abdul” she’s in her element and in her snappish, showbiz-melancholy prime. The film surrounds Dench with a coterie of stuffy arrogant British fools for her to not suffer gladly, each one adding to her (and the audience’s) satisfaction.

Victoria & Abdul
Victoria & Abdul
Victoria & Abdul
Victoria & Abdul
Original title Victoria & Abdul
IMDb Rating 6.8 23,017 votes
TMDb Rating 6.9 511 votes
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Director

Cast

Judi Dench isQueen Victoria
Queen Victoria
Ali Fazal isAbdul Karim
Abdul Karim
Tim Pigott-Smith isSir Henry Ponsonby
Sir Henry Ponsonby
Adeel Akhtar isMohammed
Mohammed
Michael Gambon isLord Salisbury
Lord Salisbury
Paul Higgins isDr. James Reid
Dr. James Reid
Olivia Williams isBaroness Churchill
Baroness Churchill
Fenella Woolgar isMiss Phipps
Miss Phipps
Julian Wadham isAlick Yorke
Alick Yorke

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