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Film

Leave it for the mums

OUT NOW! Stephen Frears’ limp period drama VICTORIA & ABDUL sees British national treasure Judi Dench once again donning the garb of Queen Victoria.

Stephen Frears’ limp period drama sees British national treasure Judi Dench once again donning the garb of Queen Victoria, two decades after her Oscar-nominated turn as the monarch in Mrs. Brown. In Victoria and Abdul, we witness an unlikely friendship form between the elderly Queen and her young Indian servant Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), much to the chagrin of her self serving and racist entourage. Based on “real events… mostly” and on Karim’s journals,this is an elegant-looking but utterly toothless prestige picture that bypasses dark historical truths for colonialism made cosy, à la Gurinder Chadha’s excruciating Viceroy’s House. Even if the film laudably champions diversity, it never achieves the timely relevance or complexity it clearly yearns for.Mums may love it, though.

Victoria & Abdul | Directed by Stephen Frears (UK 2017), with Judi Dench, Ali Fazal. Starts September 28.

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