The Queen and Her Munshi

By Cher Cabula-Mendoza - Wednesday, October 04, 2017

A Victoria and Abdul movie review

The other night, I got to watch a light film that was a glimpse in a life of a monarch, Queen Victoria of England to be exact. Victoria and Abdul was a look beyond the parties, the opulence, the fancy dresses and the Jubilees and oh my, what an eye-opener it was. I’m sure no one is a stranger to dreams of living inside a castle and being waited on by numerous servants. After seeing this film though, I don’t envy them as much anymore. The Royal Crown can be very much like invisible bonds. Through the friendship of Victoria and Abdul, we’ve come to know that there’s more important things in life than wealth and power. Oh that doesn’t sound like a light movie does it? Trust me, there’s much comedy here and a lot frustrating moments too.
The film is set well into the twilight years of the reign of Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) particularly during the time that she was ruling over India. Miles apart, Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) was a lowly clerk with a humble but optimistic attitude. He was lucky enough to be chosen to go to England just because he was tall. He was to present a prestigious coin to Queen Victoria as a tribute from his country.

While in England, he did the impossible. He gained the trust and friendship of the Queen and he rose among ranks of the elite. This promotion in status extremely alarmed the vultures around England’s nobility. This was the start of Abdul’s unbecoming.

Dame Judi Dench was exceptional at playing her role as Queen Victoria. She was extremely convincing. While the real Queen had a reputation of anything but charming, Dame Judi Dench was quick to charm us into loving her character right away. We sympathized at how taxing her role as Queen was and we reveled when she exerted her authority to get her way.
Victoria and Abdul

Abdul was fascinating both in character and personality. I couldn’t decide whether to give him a pat on the back or to conk him in the head if I had the privilege of bumping into him. He was very very fortunate to have had the chance to generate such an impact in the Queen’s life yet he also made the mistake of forgetting his friends and family in the process. The Queen became such a center in his life that he forgot everything else. His patience and devotion was something to be commended though and I think that’s what endeared him to the Queen the most. If you’d like to read more about him, there’s an entire Wiki page for The Munshi himself.

There was much attention to the period style in the film. Costumes were made in detail, the interiors were good to portray the contrast between the halls of the Windsor Castle and the lowly home of the Munshi and the behavior of the other characters in the film were befitting of the period as well.
Victoria and Abdul

I despised the politics between the nobles. Everyone is scheming, there’s always jealousy. They couldn’t even be happy for the Queen when she has gotten out of her depression through the Munshi. It was revolting to see how prevalent racism is back then and how even if it’s centuries later, we still have the same problems in certain places. It is so engraved in our cultures and societies that it’s so hard to forget.

I loved the film. I adored their friendship. The movie is a great example of showing us that everything and everybody may not be what they seem. We all have secret lives and sometimes those are the secrets that destroy us. However, we can always find solace that there is a soul out there who will set us at ease and tell us that everything will be alright. Victoria and Abdul is now showing in Ayala Cinemas (Trinoma, Glorietta 4, Alabang Town Center) starting today.

Victoria and Abdul Movie Review

photo credits: United International Pictures
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Victoria and Abdul
Judi Dench
3.5 stars out of 5
movie review
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 photo cher100_zpsb08016be.jpg   Cher is a practicing Filipino Interior Designer, a full-time blogger and aspiring calligrapher with a passion to discover and learn new things. Follow her on Twitter for more updates and please like her Facebook Page too, you'll find something interesting, inspiring and fun posts there daily. Check out her Mindbox for movies and lifestyle updates. If you're an aspiring calligrapher and an art enthusiast, say hello at Cher's Creative Space.

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