6.8/10
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109 user 180 critic

Victoria & Abdul (2017)

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Queen Victoria strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim.

Director:

Stephen Frears

Writers:

Lee Hall (screenplay by), Shrabani Basu (based on the book by)
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Popularity
2,901 ( 1,213)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Judi Dench ... Queen Victoria
Ali Fazal ... Abdul Karim
Tim Pigott-Smith ... Sir Henry Ponsonby
Eddie Izzard ... Bertie, Prince of Wales
Adeel Akhtar ... Mohammed
Michael Gambon ... Lord Salisbury
Paul Higgins ... Dr. Reid
Olivia Williams ... Lady Churchill
Fenella Woolgar ... Miss Phipps
Julian Wadham ... Alick Yorke
Robin Soans ... Arthur Bigge
Ruth McCabe ... Mrs. Tuck
Simon Callow ... Puccini
Sukh Ojla Sukh Ojla ... Mrs. Karim
Kemaal Deen-Ellis ... Ahmed
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Storyline

Abdul Karim arrives from India to participate in Queen Victoria's golden jubilee. The young clerk is surprised to find favor with the queen herself. As Victoria questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance that her household and inner circle try to destroy. As their friendship deepens, the queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes, joyfully reclaiming her humanity.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Based on an extraordinary true story. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Site

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Urdu | Hindi

Release Date:

6 October 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Victoria y Abdul See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$158,845, 24 September 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$22,245,070, 4 January 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In real life, Jane Spencer, the Baroness Churchill, died December 24, 1900, one month before Queen Victoria. She served as Lady of the Bedchamber from 1854 until her death, and was the longest-serving member of the queen's personal household. See more »

Goofs

At the start we hear a call to prayer (adhan) with a loudspeaker which did not yet exist in 1887. See more »

Quotes

Sir Henry Ponsonby: Breakfast with the Royal Princes of Belgium. 11:00, an audience with the Sultan of Dubai, where Her Majesty will be presented with the Diamond of Oojay. Garden party where Her Majesty will receive Oscar II, King of Sweden and Norway, again, and Queen Liliuokalani.
Queen Victoria: Who on Earth is she?
Sir Henry Ponsonby: A monarch and, uh, sole Queen Regnant of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Your Majesty. Uh, she has composed a song for you on the ukulele. Uh, but we have managed to put her off. Then you will eat with the Prime Minister ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

Begins with text that says it is "Based on real events... mostly". See more »


Soundtracks

String Quartet in E Flat Major, Opus 1 No. 2, Minuetto
Written by Franz Joseph Haydn
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User Reviews

 
an impossible love story
25 September 2017 | by dromascaSee all my reviews

The history of England was blessed with several famous queens - starting with head-losers Anne Boleyn and Mary Stuart, continuing the two Elisabeth's and of course Queen Victoria, the record holder of longevity until recently, the queen who gave her name to a whole era of maximal glory and expansion of the British Empire. The big dames of English cinema were accordingly blessed with the respective fabulous roles that they love to bring to the big screens and are regarded as peaks of their careers. For Dame Judi Dench, Victoria and Abdul directed by Stephen Frears provides (for the second time actually) the opportunity to create a memorable portrait of Victoria. Her success in completing this task is the best part and the best that can be said and written about this production. Unfortunately, this is not the only thing that can be said and written about this film.

It's very difficult to disconnect the historical episode of the relationship between the old widow who was also the queen of the largest empire on earth at her time (and maybe at all times) and the Muslim servant from India who raised to become her secretary, counselor, spiritual adviser, friend, surrogate son and maybe more than all these, and the political situation today, 120 years later, when the divided Britain faced with the realities of globalization and immigration tries to put again sea and borders between her and Europe. The authors of the film invested quite a lot in describing the atmosphere of the imperial households and its corridors of power and gossip with the adequate costumes and decoration but they are talking all the time to the contemporary spectator while telling a story based on real history or facts as they happened ... or almost, as they cautionary and wisely warn us in the opening.

We are thus left with an impossible friendship and even love story, impossible because of a mountain of reasons: class differences, race prejudices, age gap, cultural and historical precipices. The only thing that can save such a film from falling in complete melodrama or faked rhetoric is the human dimension. In Victoria and Abdul this dimension is only partially delivered by the splendid acting performance of Judi Dench. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast cannot come even close to her class. Ali Fazal is fit physically but lacks the nuances that can explain some of the contradictions of his personality. We never know or really understand what is his real class background, whether the deepness of his knowledge in the Quran and oriental culture is genuine, or if he intentionally misled his beloved queen in the details of the history and realities of the inter-faith conflicts on the Indian continent. The rest of the cast is condemned to represent a gallery of half-ridiculous, half-perverse characters representing the British aristocracy class full of prejudice and bad faith. If only the caricature would have been pushed a little further we could have had more comical fun, but Stephen Frears could not really abandon the ambition of passing some important message about today's politics. In my opinion he failed, and the principal great merit of this film is telling a half-baked potential love story while allowing Judi Dench to add another great role to her illustrious filmography.


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