Abdul is a Muslim from India who gained much influence over England’s Queen Victoria in the last 15 years of her reign.
“Victoria and Abdul” is a good news, bad news scenario. The good news: Judi Dench plays Victoria again. The last time was in “Mrs. Brown” some 20 years ago, and she got raves and award nominations. Look for the same here. Dench could play a wall clock and be better than 99 percent of today’s actors.
Her connection with the charming Ali Fazal, who plays Abdul, is exceptional. They have a blast until the second hour. That’s the bad news. The first hour is charming, fun, funny and packed with life. It’s a witty telling of the aged queen’s final years. Hour two spends all of its time on how Abdul upset the royal applecart and ticked off everyone from the prime minister to Victoria’s children.
It’s there the film grinds to a screeching halt.
Movie name: Victoria and Abdul
Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Judy Dench, Ali Fazal, Eddie Izzard, Michael Gambon, Paul Higgins, Olivia Williams, Simon Callow
Mr. Movie rating: 2 1/2 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It’s playing at Regal’s Columbia Center 8.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.