Victoria & Abdul
Starts Friday, Nov. 3
1h51m | Directed by Stephen Frears | UK, USA | Drama, biography, history
Victoria & Abdul tells the extraordinary true story of the amazing and unlikely friendship between Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) and a young clerk, Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), who becomes her teacher, her spiritual advisor, and her devoted friend.
In 1887, Abdul travels from India to present a ceremonial medal as part of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee but surprisingly finds favor with the elderly Queen. The unprecedented and unlikely relationship causes a battle royale within the royal household, pitting the Queen against court and family. Victoria & Abdul humorously explores questions of race, religion, power, and the farce of Empire through the prism of a highly unusual and deeply moving friendship.
The screenplay of Victoria & Abdul is by Academy Award nominee Lee Hall (Billy Elliot), based on journalist Shrabani Basu’s book Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant, which brought to light the long-hidden history of Victoria and Abdul from their own diaries and journals. (c) Focus Features
Whether Victoria & Abdul holds up to historical scrutiny is up for debate – the prologue says the film is “based on true events… mostly” – but Dench, as always, is the real deal.
Adam Graham | Detroit News | Full Review
There are multiple pleasures to be had by witnessing a powerful, still-vital woman finding unexpected late-life joy of the platonic variety.
Susan Wloszczyna | RogerEbert.com | Full Review
Victoria & Abdul is worth seeing for Dench’s magisterial performance and for Frears’s light but sure directorial touch.
Christopher Orr | The Atlantic | Full Review