It is this style of lazy period drama that taint the genre for many
There is undoubtedly a fascinating story behind the relationship between an aging Queen Victoria and the servant Abdul Kareem. Fighting opposition from nearly everyone else within the royal household, the pair strike up an unthinkable friendship that defies history. The issue is, that Victoria & Abdul hasn’t even remotely caught the intrigue that comes with the revelation. Stephen Frears has managed to turn an astounding discovery into an absolute snoozefest.
Abdul Kareem (Ali Fazal) is selected to travel from India to Buckingham Palace, to grant Queen Victoria (Judy Dench) with a precious award. The Queen takes a liking to him after their brief meeting, and the pair start a passionate friendship, where Kareem tries to teach his new student everything there is about his religion and his homeland’s culture.
Victoria & Abdul is entirely starved of entertainment, passion, and humour; Values that the trailer clearly tries to pass off as some of its key assets. The script is so basic that anything Ali Fazal or Judi Dench try to do with their characters is ensured to fail. Yet, many actors have managed to produce outstanding performances from weak scripts, suggesting the onus isn’t completely on the writing team.
The costumes stand out as one of the film’s more impressive elements, but there is very little else supplying any real quality. There is almost a sense that the filmakers believed the subject had enough entertainment value on its own, and only a small amount of ‘padding out’ was needed. They were, in fact, hideously wrong, and it is this style of lazy period drama that taint the genre for many. There is no avoiding the fact that Victoria & Abdul is a boring film.