Judi dench is perhaps the greatest actress of all time. Whenever she’s on scree, she’s in command of the screen and seems to tower against all of her co-stars. She does the same in Victoria and Abdul, a sad and funny, albeit a little slight retelling of Queen Victoria of England’s time with her servant Abdul and their relationship from a master and her server to friends to something like a student and a teacher. Directed by Stephen Frears, and also starring Ali Faizal as the devoted Abdul, the movie isn’t entirely successful as a relationship study but it is an undeniable showcase for its leading lady.
Queen Victoria is very old when we meet her, and she doesnt trust anyone in her family because they think she’s going senile and want her to relinquish the throne, so the arrival of Abdul makes her want to learn more about him, where he comes from and other things and he obliges her, making her, his student and the two bond over the fact that they’re both unwanted in this world.
The movie looks very beautiful and the cast is uniformly strong, with Michael Gambon being a standout. Ali Faizal also impresses but he could’ve gotten a little more character development, but he is good at what he’s been told to do.
But towering over everyone is Judi Dench herself who doesn’t play Victoria like she did in Mrs Brown, but as a scared but determined women who wants to live her life with dignity and won’t be pushed aside by her children. She’s just masterful in the role.