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Film Review: History by Rote in Formulaic ‘Victoria and Abdul’

Chicago – There have been 155 TV/Movie depictions of Queen Victoria, who ruled England from 1837 to 1901. The “Victorian Era” continues to fascinate filmmakers, and who is perfect to portray Queen V. towards the end of her life? Get me Dame Judi Dench on the Skype!

Rating: 3.0/5.0

This is a story of a little known chapter of her later life… her unlikely relationship with a footman from India, Abdul Karim. In the film, it is hinted that the history of this friendship was destroyed for image purposes, but enough of the events were recorded to adapt into a film (from a book by Shrabani Basu). Veteran director Stephen Frears (“Florence Foster Jenkins”) applies his usual workmanlike approach to narrative, but nothing comes to life in the situation. No offense to the great Judi D., but the formula presented in the film almost seemed like a satire, with the elder actress of course
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »

Victoria And Abdul – Review

Judi Dench (left) stars as Queen Victoria and Ali Fazal (right) stars as Abdul Karim in

director Stephen FrearsVictoria And Abdul, a Focus Features release. Photo credit: Peter Mountain / Focus Features ©

Director Stephen Frears’ funny, charming Victoria And Abdul was inspired by a real event late in the life of Queen Victoria, when the aging British monarch had her mood brighten by the arrival of a visitor from India, much to the dismay of her advisers and her son, the crown prince. Judi Dench gives a brave and bitingly funny performance as the elderly Queen Victoria, which feels a bit like a kind of sequel to her role as the same queen earlier in life in 1997’s Mrs. Brown. Frears’ handsome historical comedy/drama has a script written by Lee Hall, who penned Billy Elliot, and is based on journalist Shrabani Basu’s “Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant.
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

'Victoria and Abdul' Review: Judi Dench Is 'a Pleasure' in Shallow Royal Film

'Victoria and Abdul' Review: Judi Dench Is 'a Pleasure' in Shallow Royal Film
Since Dame Judi Dench is acting royalty she has no trouble playing the hell out of Queen Victoria in her last years on the throne of England. Even better, she lets her ingrained mischief remove any hints of sanctimony from the old girl. Sadly, Victoria & Abdul, directed by the usually scrappy Stephen Frears from a dutiful script by Lee Hall, only sets one place at the table. Abdul Karim (Bollywood star Ali Fazal), the lowly Indian Muslim clerk who's sent from Agra to England to present the Queen with a ceremonial coin,
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Review: ‘Red Trees’ is an Unconventional, Cathartic Look Back at the Holocaust

If yours were one of only twelve Jewish families in all of Prague to survive World War II, you’d do your best to move forward despite the memories of death, fear, and oppression that marked you in a way no one who wasn’t there could ever understand. Some are better than others at pushing these aside to embrace the life that remained and future to come. Alfred Willer was one such survivor, a teenager at war’s end who eventually migrated to Brazil with his father Vilem for a fresh start. There he’d become a successful architect, marry, and have children: gifts that very nearly never were. And when those children took him to Europe to see his home, they couldn’t have been prepared for the horrors he’d share.

The stories were so vivid and important that his daughter Marina has crafted them (with the
See full article at The Film Stage »

Guest Post: Directing “Red Trees” and Discovering My Own Identity

Red Trees”: Cohen Media Group

Guest Post by Marina Willer

The title of my film, “Red Trees,” refers to the moment when my father discovered that he was color blind as a child, drawing trees with red leaves. It makes reference to a world where we would maybe not judge people by their color or origin. “Red Trees” tells the story of my family’s collective survival and journey to a new life in Brazil after World War II, how we went on to become a real mixture, or “fruit salad,” as my father would say.

Making “Red Trees” was my attempt to understand the shifting world we live in; looking to the past for lessons on how to deal with the ever-worsening refugee crisis. Little did I know that making this film would bring me closer to understanding my own identity as a woman of Jewish background amongst many origins — all the more surprising considering the story is told through the lens of two men, my father and his father.

My Jewish identity is defined by the trajectories of the men on my father’s side of the family: My intellectual grandfather, whose brilliance was forever getting my family in and out of trouble, and my father, a strong and remarkable man. Their stories of triumph in the face of suffering and pain came to define our identity as a Jewish family. And, as is often the case with family histories of that era, there is only space for a man’s brilliance.

The decision to use my voice for the narration of “Red Trees,” combined with the beautiful voice of the late Tim Pigott-Smith, was initially taken to provide balance to what is otherwise a male-dominated story. However, as the filmmaking process progressed, I found that my place in the narrative emerged beyond providing voiceover. I was increasingly reflecting on my personal connection to these old familial tales, weaving my own burgeoning story into the fabric of our collective family history — and subsequently redefining the way in which I understood my Jewish identity.

This new and inclusive family narrative bought me closer to my father, allowing us to break the ice on subjects that we had never previously discussed. We moved beyond the well-trodden, often sanitized stories — in other words, he opened up. We talked about what it was like to be a child during the war and explored the pain that many survivors like him have trapped inside them; pain that is buried so deep, it sometimes makes the history of the Holocaust hard to share.

Although, there were still occasions where my role as a mother, perhaps my natural place amongst the men in my family, collided with the filmmaking process in the most surreal way. On one such occasion, with the camera rolling, my father interrupted me to declare that it was time to do some grocery shopping: “There’s no food in the fridge, love, this is rubbish!” Funnily enough it was Dylan, one of my 10-year-old twin boys, who set him straight. “You have to respect Mummy as a director, not as a mummy,” he said. I think the experience of watching me make “Red Trees,” in which they both appear, has been very special for my boys; they have seen me in a completely different context, informing their perspective of their mummy’s place in the world.

I am very happy with “Red Trees.” It’s a film made completely from love. It’s a story of acceptance, hope, and light in such hard times. The real treat is when you discover strong relationships, the wonderful people who give so much time and talent and create beautiful things. There is a real magic in making art and making it together.

Red Trees” opens in NY and La today. A wider theatrical release will follow in the coming weeks. Check out the film’s website for more information.

Filmmaker and graphic designer Marina Willer was born in Brazil and is based in London. Willer’s work has been shown at Fondation Cartier in Paris, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, and various international festivals. In 2003 her short film “Cartas da Mãe” won the Best Brazilian Short Film Award at the São Paulo International Film Festival and was nominated for Best Video at the Cinema Brazil Grand Prize. Her 2014 short film “Exposed” was used to introduce the Richard Rogers exhibitions at Paris’ Pompidou Centre and London’s Design Museum. “Red Trees” is Willer’s feature directorial debut.

https://medium.com/media/ee8c5f982862e7c33306a4164cc7165c/href

Guest Post: Directing “Red Trees” and Discovering My Own Identity was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Victoria & Abdul movie review: one of her best friends was brown

MaryAnn’s quick take… Charming based-on-fact British costume dramedy gently snarks about power and propriety but cuts a lot deeper when it comes to bigotry and bootlicking. I’m “biast” (pro): love Judi Dench, mostly love Stephen Frears’s films

I’m “biast” (con): we’re still telling stories about this dead queen?

I have not read the source material

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

The ribbing writes itself: Hey, they finally made the sequel to 1997’s Mrs. Brown! You know, the movie in which Judi Dench as Queen Victoria develops a close platonic friendship — or maybe even a romance — with royal groundskeeper John Brown in the early years of her widowhood, in the 1860s. It was a scandal! And now here’s Victoria & Abdul, which opens 20 years later and stars Judi Dench (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
See full article at FlickFilosopher »

Stephen Frears interview: Victoria And Abdul

Ben Mortimer Sep 14, 2017

Director Stephen Frears chat to us about British cinema, Victoria & Abdul, and directing Dame Judi Dench...

Arriving in cinemas tomorrow is Victoria & Abdul, a film that tells a previously little-known story of a friendship between Queen Victoria and a man called Abdul towards the end of her life. It's a thematic follow on from director John Madden's Mrs Brown, and this story is directed by Stephen Frears. He took some time out to chat to us abou tit...

You spent the whole day talking about the film. One of the things I’m sure you’ve been asked, and I apologise for asking it, but I think the answer may inform where the rest of this interview goes. There’s an obvious similarity, particularly with casting, to Mrs Brown.

Yeah.

What was it you felt you could do differently?

Didn’t think about it.

You completely
See full article at Den of Geek »

Eddie Izzard interview: Victoria And Abdul, acting, Robin Williams and more

Ben Mortimer Sep 13, 2017

Eddie Izzard on his acting career, Victoria & Abdul, Clint Eastwood, Robin Williams, directing films and more...

Eddie Izzard is back on the big screen this weekend in Victoria & Abdul. It's the new film from director Stephen Frears, a sort-of follow-up to Mrs Brown that sees Dame Judi Dench playing Queen Victoria in a story that's recently been discovered about her later life. We got a chance to chat with Eddie Izzard about his role in the movie, and potentially directing...

Could you clear something up for me, as I swear I heard a hint of it in the film - did you give Bertie a slight German accent?

Maybe mentally. He did have a tapped ‘r’, because his first years there was German in it, but it was only the hint of it, I didn’t overtly push it.

I was watching your interview this morning on This Morning,
See full article at Den of Geek »

‘Victoria & Abdul’ Review: Judi Dench-Starring Historical Drama Is Only Half a Story — Venice

‘Victoria & Abdul’ Review: Judi Dench-Starring Historical Drama Is Only Half a Story — Venice
Stephen Frears’ “Victoria & Abdul” is an otherwise benignly toothless, pleasantly glossy affair, but it does force us to confront one tricky question: When treating a subject as fraught as British imperial rule, when does a film’s benign inoffensiveness become offensive in and of itself? Still, that’s about the only food for thought in what is at once a breezy, lion-in-winter vehicle for Judi Dench in queen-mode and a “Lifestyles of the Rich and Noble” bit of wealth porn, and not much more.

Dench is back as Queen Victoria, returning to a role she had previously played in John Madden’s “Mrs. Brown,” a film that must have not only inspired Frears and screenwriter Lee Hall, but acted as their foundational text. Little is known about the very real relationship that existed between the aging monarch and her advisor Abdul Karim, and so Hall has essentially grafted their story
See full article at Indiewire »

Judi Dench is the Queen in First Trailer for Stephen Frears’ ‘Victoria & Abdul’

After making The Queen over a decade ago, Stephen Frears is returning to direct another film about high royalty, but this time Queen Victoria. Victoria & Abdul, starring Judi Dench and Ali Fazal depicts the friendship between the 19th century Queen and a young clerk hailing from India. Ahead of a fall release, Focus Features have now debuted the first trailer.

As with Frears’ recent films, it looks to be a warm genial dramedy that we’d bet makes its bow at Toronto International Film Festival ahead of its debut. Also starring Adeel Akhtar, Simon Callow, Michael Gambon, Eddie Izzard, Ruth McCabe, Tim Pigott-Smith, Julian Wadham, Olivia Williams, and Fenella Woolgar, check out the trailer and poster below.

The extraordinary true story of an unexpected friendship in the later years of Queen Victoria’s (Academy Award winner Judi Dench) remarkable rule. When Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), a young clerk, travels from
See full article at The Film Stage »

Judi Dench Shines In First Trailer And Poster For Victoria & Abdul

Up until a few years ago, Queen Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India, was the longest reigning monarch. That is until Queen Elizabeth II, her great-great granddaughter surpassed her in September 2015. Elizabeth has been Queen since 1952.

With a reign of 63 years, seven months and two days, Victoria was the longest-reigning British monarch and the longest-reigning queen regnant in world history.

Focus Features has released the first poster and trailer for the upcoming Victoria & Abdul, from director Stephen Frears (The Queen,” “Philomena,” “Mrs. Henderson Presents”). The cast features Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Adeel Akhtar, Simon Callow, Eddie Izzard, Ruth McCabe, Tim Pigott-Smith, Julian Wadham, Olivia Williams, Fenella Woolgar and Michael Gambon.

Many fans of the 1997’s Mrs. Brown wanted more of the story of a bereaved Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) and her relationship with a Scottish servant, John Brown (Billy Connolly), and the subsequent uproar it provoked.
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

First Trailer for Stephen Frears' 'Victoria & Abdul' Starring Judi Dench

"I am cantankerous, greedy, fat. I am perhaps, disagreeably, attached to power. But I am anything but insane." Focus Features has released the first official trailer for a film titled Victoria and Abdul, telling the story of an unlikely friendship between Queen Victoria of Britain and an Indian clerk named Abdul Karim. Director Stephen Frears partners with Judi Dench again, who stars as Queen Victoria (she also starred in Frears' Philomena a few years back earning an Oscar nomination), with newcomer Ali Fazal playing Abdul. The full cast includes Olivia Williams, Michael Gambon, Eddie Izzard, Tim Pigott-Smith, Simon Callow, and Adeel Akhtar. This seems like a good fall film, charming and entertaining, with a few great performances. Dench looks excellent as always, and I'm intrigued to see Fazal's performance. Worth a look. Here's the first trailer (+ poster) for Stephen Frears' Victoria & Abdul, direct from Focus' YouTube: The extraordinary true
See full article at FirstShowing.net »

Judi Dench looks every inch a Queen in trailer for Victoria and Abdul

Author: Zehra Phelan

At the youthful age of 82, Dame Judi Dench isn’t retiring for anyone, just a little like her latest role as an ageing Queen Victoria in Victoria and Abdul for which a joyous trailer and poster have been released.

Dench teams up again with the Philomena director Stephen Frears on a story which is based on the latter years of Queen Victoria who reigned over England for 64 years between 1837 until her death in 1901 and her relationship with a young Indian clerk who she befriends after he is sent to her court. Dench is reprising her role as the cantankerous Queen after she portrayed Queen Victoria back in 1997 in Mrs Brown alongside Billy Connolly from an earlier episode in the royal’s life, so stepping back into her persona should have come quite naturally to the veteran actress.

Clad in Queen Victoria’s black mourning dress that she
See full article at HeyUGuys »

First trailer and poster for Victoria & Abdul starring Judi Dench and Ali Fazal

Universal Pictures has debuted the first trailer and poster for Stephen Frears’ upcoming biographical drama Victoria & Abdul. Based on Shrabani Basu’s book Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant, the film sees Judy Dench in her second portrayal of Queen Victoria following her Oscar-nominated role in 1997’s Mrs Brown alongside Ali Fazal, Adeel Akhtar, Simon Callow, Michael Gambon, Eddie Izzard, Ruth McCabe, Tim Pigott-Smith, Julian Wadham, Olivia Williams and Fenella Woolgar; take a look below…

The extraordinary true story of an unexpected friendship in the later years of Queen Victoria’s (Academy Award winner Judi Dench) remarkable rule. When Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), a young clerk, travels from India to participate in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, he is surprised to find favour with the Queen herself. As the Queen questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Whisky Galore! Review

Author: Stefan Pape

Quite why director Gillies MacKinnon and writer Peter McDougall decided to remake the 1949 comedy Whisky Galore remains to be seen, and yet in spite of the initial apprehensions, it feels somewhat timely to celebrate the notion of community, and remaining spirited in the face of adversity. To be released in such close proximity to Their Finest seems apt too, for the latter celebrates productions of this very flavour, which find a semblance of hope amidst one of Britain’s darkest ages.

The war may be going on, but those who inhabit the Highlands and Islands of Scotland don’t seem particularly interested – that is until they run out of whisky. The locals eventually get wind of a transport ship heading in the direction of America, which just so happens to be carrying tens of thousands of cases of the aforementioned beverage, causing then to concoct a plan.
See full article at HeyUGuys »

‘King Charles III’: Could That Coronation Twist Happen in Real Life?

‘King Charles III’: Could That Coronation Twist Happen in Real Life?
[Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers from PBS’ movie adaptation of “King Charles III.”]

In “King Charles III,” Charles waited his whole life to be king, but when he finally got his chance, he messed it up royally.

In the PBS Masterpiece movie adapted from Mike Bartlett’s play of the same name, when the Queen dies, Charles (Tim Pigott-Smith) becomes the acting monarch immediately, even though the official coronation won’t take place for three months. During that time, however, he refuses to give his royal assent to a bill that had already passed both houses of Parliament. That refusal divides his government and the nation, inciting riots. Amidst this chaos, Charles’ son William (Oliver Chris) forces him to abdicate, and therefore when coronation day rolls around, it’s William and Kate (Charlotte Riley) who are sitting on the thrones, not Charles.

Read More: ‘King Charles III’: When the Queen Dies, It’s Not Just Sad; It’s a Shakespearean Tragedy

The
See full article at Indiewire Television »

‘King Charles III’: Could That Coronation Twist Happen in Real Life?

‘King Charles III’: Could That Coronation Twist Happen in Real Life?
[Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers from PBS’ movie adaptation of “King Charles III.”]

In “King Charles III,” Charles waited his whole life to be king, but when he finally got his chance, he messed it up royally.

In the PBS Masterpiece movie adapted from Mike Bartlett’s play of the same name, when the Queen dies, Charles (Tim Pigott-Smith) becomes the acting monarch immediately, even though the official coronation won’t take place for three months. During that time, however, he refuses to give his royal assent to a bill that had already passed both houses of Parliament. That refusal divides his government and the nation, inciting riots. Amidst this chaos, Charles’ son William (Oliver Chris) forces him to abdicate, and therefore when coronation day rolls around, it’s William and Kate (Charlotte Riley) who are sitting on the thrones, not Charles.

Read More: ‘King Charles III’: When the Queen Dies, It’s Not Just Sad; It’s a Shakespearean Tragedy

The
See full article at Indiewire »

‘King Charles III’: When the Queen Dies, It’s Not Just Sad; It’s a Shakespearean Tragedy

‘King Charles III’: When the Queen Dies, It’s Not Just Sad; It’s a Shakespearean Tragedy
Queen Elizabeth II has outlived them all.

As the longest-reigning monarch in British history, and the oldest living monarch in the world, the Queen has seen many presidents and popes come and go. In PBS’ “King Charles III,” adapted from the critically acclaimed play of the same name, the Queen will finally pass away, allowing for her eldest (and elderly) son Charles to ascend the throne.

Read More: ‘Feud’ Season 2 Dream Cast: 12 Actors We Need to Play Charles, Diana, the Queen and More

The late Tim Pigott-Smith stars as the ascending monarch Charles III, alongside Oliver Chris as William, Richard Goulding as Harry, Charlotte Riley as Kate nee Middleton, and Margot Leicester as Camilla. Pigott-Smith, who reprised his Tony-nominated Broadway role for the movie, spoke to IndieWire in January about the Queen and the realities of “King Charles III.”

“One of the things you miss over here [in the United States] is, of course,
See full article at Indiewire Television »

‘King Charles III’: When the Queen Dies, It’s Not Just Sad; It’s a Shakespearean Tragedy

‘King Charles III’: When the Queen Dies, It’s Not Just Sad; It’s a Shakespearean Tragedy
Queen Elizabeth II has outlived them all.

As the longest-reigning monarch in British history, and the oldest living monarch in the world, the Queen has seen many presidents and popes come and go. In PBS’ “King Charles III,” adapted from the critically acclaimed play of the same name, the Queen will finally pass away, allowing for her eldest (and elderly) son Charles to ascend the throne.

Read More: ‘Feud’ Season 2 Dream Cast: 12 Actors We Need to Play Charles, Diana, the Queen and More

The late Tim Pigott-Smith stars as the ascending monarch Charles III, alongside Oliver Chris as William, Richard Goulding as Harry, Charlotte Riley as Kate nee Middleton, and Margot Leicester as Camilla. Pigott-Smith, who reprised his Tony-nominated Broadway role for the movie, spoke to IndieWire in January about the Queen and the realities of “King Charles III.”

“One of the things you miss over here [in the United States] is, of course,
See full article at Indiewire »
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