Victoria and Abdul (2017) Tuesday, 07 April 2020

Victoria and Abdul (2017)

Additional Info

  • Rating:

    PG: Mild themes and coarse language.

  • The pitch:

    The eyes have it.

  • Starring:

    Dame Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Michael Gambon, Olivia Williams, Eddie Izzard, Simon Callow, Tim Pigott-Smith, Adeel Akhtar

  • Directed by:

    Stephen Frears

  • Running time:

    112 minutes

  • Rated:

    PG (Australia), PG (UK), PG-13 (USA)


    People are smacked, shirt-grabbed, bumped into, threatened with job loss, throat-grabbed, pushed aside. Objects pushed off desk in anger, house trashed, personal objects burned out of spite/revenge. Story of man suffering an accident with an elephant. Indian Rebellion of 1857 (uprising against British soldiers by Indian Muslims who believed that weapons cartridges were made from pig and cow fat) discussed. References to Boer War. Shouting, arguing. Fear of assassination, smashing of the Peacock Throne, "chop your balls off", "I will see to it that you die here" mentioned. Blood/gore: Dead body. Coughing up blood, bloody tissue, fainting/collapse. Funeral scene. Death notice. Mention of rebellion where over 2000 personnel were murdered. Eating pig's blood and sheep's brains, gelatine made from cow bones mentioned.


    (None): A doctor inspects a male's genitals (obscured from view). Feet-kissing, hand-holding. Statue of semi-nude figures (breasts exposed). Bottom hole, the clap, gonorrhea, fertility issues, collapsed uterus mentioned.


    Smelling salts. Alcohol (spirits, wine, champagne). Smoking (cigarettes). Medicine for constipation (Bonjer's mixture?) mentioned.


    S-words, a-words, crap, bloody, balls. Name-calling (oppressor, barbarians, depressing, fools, idiot, stupid, exploiters, vain, jealous, an embarrassment, fat, lame, silly, impotent, old, brown, little, Uncle Tom, bigamist, Ali Baba, d*cks, low-born, imposter, fraud, common, despicable toads, racialists, pox-ridden, coloured, dreary, morbidly obese, cantakerous, boring, greedy, selfish, myopic, ill-tempered, insane, short-sighted, vultures, etc). Religious references (prayer, crucifixes, etc) and exclamations (Jesus Christ, for god's sake, thank heavens, what the hell, oh my God, oh God, Allah, damn, etc). Insults about race, culture, colour, religion, stuttering.


    Queen Victoria, Abdul Karim, the Munshi, unlikely friendships, British royal family, racism, teaches, language lessons, history, privacy, protocol, servility, companions.


    Dead mother/friend. Dead friend/colleague. Dead husband, dead wife (died in childbirth), dead friend mentioned. Goats, horses, dog. Meat/egg eaten. Taxidermy animals/antlers on wall. Snoring. Eating pig's blood mentioned. Bowel movements discussed. Some Hindi and Urdu languages (subtitles/translation). Based on a true story. Based on the book Victoria & Abdul : The True Story of the Queen's Closest Confidant by Shrabani Basu.


    Glossy, moving, touching, sumptuous. Superb/shrewd/affecting/classy/sensational/rich/mischievous performance by Dame Judi Dench, fascinating story, appealling cast, splendid production design, beautiful costumes, intimate score.


    Lazy, cutesy, creaky, sorry, dodgy, conservative, farcical, uncomfortable, unenlightened. Unconvincing chemistry between leads, uninteresting/doe-eyed/fawning/blank performance by Ali Fazal, lacks moral complexity, lacks a character arc/dimension for Abdul Karim.

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