Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Day One Hundred and Twenty-eight - Mrs.Brown, "Those Brits and their Royals... Yeesh."

You know, I think Dame Judi Dench can play anybody.

She's been Elizabeth, Ophelia, Juliet, Lady MacBeth, M, Dame Sybil Thorndike... and Victoria Regina, herself, in this, the film adaptation of VR's mourning years, Mrs.Brown.

She co-stars in it with Billy Connolly who plays Victoria's overly familiar (at least in the eyes of her court) servant John Brown who manages to pull her out of her sadness, but not without some cost both in her relationship with her family, her servants, and her court.

It's a rather interesting period piece that does its best to show both the good and the bad of the British class system and is full of great performances, both by the leads and the supporting crew which includes Geoffrey Palmer, a young Gerard Butler, and Anthony Sher.

I found the subtle manipulations that everyone, even John and the Queen, put forth to try and get their ways, intriguing and thoughtful. It's hard not to hold them both with sympathy as John's mission through his subtle machinations is Victoria's safety and security where Victoria just wants peace instead of the pressing duties she has as the figurehead of the British Empire.

The whole film is very much about the muted emotion and repressed feelings, the things left unsaid, and subtext, even with the occasional raging that Victoria and Bertie express that is decidedly not "stiff upper lip."

But they're royals... you expect that a bit, in private.

Another boon for the film were all the lovely landscape shots of the Scottish Highlands. It truly is beautiful country.

I suppose that I was a little disappointed that there wasn't much of Victorian London. Heck, there really wasn't any of it as the London locations were all small shots of landmarks as opposed to wide shots of the coal-stained air of an industrial age metropolis.

Mrs.Brown definitely leaves you in sympathy for John. Victoria was a bit spoiled, even in the favorable light the movie portrays her with. Sure, John Brown was no angel and was more than a bit presumptuous and disrespectful, acting way above his station... but I'm an American and we applaud those sorts of rogues.

Well, I do, anyway.

As far as muted dramas go, Mrs.Brown is pretty decent. There's barely any passion, but that's excusable because they're British... and the crises and politics are a bit obscure for folks like me who are not entirely (or in any real way) familiar with British history.

Hell, I have enough trouble with my own.

Still, its an interesting piece with a stellar cast. If there's one thing about Shakespearean trained actors, they know their craft, and it's pretty well exemplified here with Dame Judi.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~


  1. There's something in the water over there when it comes to actors. Old ones, young ones - they are all so very good. Just saw Billy C. in Quartet, and he was still the rogue in that movie.
    I am so enjoying your year with Netflix. Just recently found it, and read them all though I haven't commented till now. A delightful idea for a blog. (and maybe it will turn into more years?!)

  2. Thanks for reading~

    I think it's the Shakespearean tradition that does it. I'll be on the look out for Quartet as I've never heard of it before, thanks for the mention.

    As far as going past a year? Well, we'll see. As interesting and fun as it has been so far, I'm beginning to feel media fatigue. I might have to take a break after Dec.31 to recharge~

    Can't thank you enough for going through the backlog. Hope you enjoyed (and will continue to~).