Quicktakes

“The Young Victoria”

Landmark E Street Cinema

(Romance, Biography; PG)

The young Victoria, it seems, is quite a different person from the old Victoria. Still uncomfortable in her new role as queen, the Victoria of Jean-Marc Vallée’s film is more princess than sovereign: frightened, foolish, confused, stubborn, and too easily charmed. And although young Victoria fills the part of this “damsel-in-distress” quite comfortably, it is a chapter of her life that makes a better romance than biopic.

“The Young Victoria,” though, still seems to have two souls; the film fails to make a successful marriage between a very accurate biography and a highly theoretical (and somewhat fictionalized) love story between Victoria and her husband, Albert.

It would have been better to have focused on the latter. Young Queen Victoria was a very romantic figure and her love story is a fine one to tell. The audience witnesses the new monarch’s coming-of-age as she learns that her newfound freedom and independence – denied in childhood – will not be threatened by her “true love.”

Unfortunately, “The Young Victoria” tries to tell more, and the plot unfolds awkwardly. At times, it seems that the movie-makers were unsure exactly which chapter of Victoria’s life they were trying to show: it is never made quite clear where young Victoria begins or ends. They have added excess to what could have been a very simple love story, and the film feels rather long as a result.

Though the film leaves much to want, “The Young Victoria” is a successful period piece; it is clear that no expense was spared in portraying the grandeur and pomp of the Victorian era.

“The Young Victoria” is recommended to moviegoers who enjoyed “Pride and Prejudice,” “The Queen” and “The Madness of King George.”

-Joshua Hock

“Nine”

AMC Loews Georgetown

(Musical; PG-13)

The latest musical-turned-movie, “Nine,” which chronicles the life and women of film director Guido Contini, looked too good to be true: With its stellar cast, esteemed director (Rob Marshall, of “Chicago” fame) and surreal footage of the Italian Rivera, it seemed viewers would be left with little to be desired. But, alas, there were plenty of reasons to be disappointed with “Nine.”

Top of the list: the morose music. It would have been nice to have more poppy numbers in the vein of Oscar-nominated Kate Hudson’s “Cinema Italiano,” which was visibly inspired by the go-go dancing of the sixties.

In addition, the movie could have benefited from syncing all the actors’ Italian accents. While the diversity of the cast is one of the most interesting facets of the film, consistency among the faux-Italian accents would have enhanced the movie’s authenticity.

More significantly, “Nine” was, to put it bluntly, uninteresting. Each woman brought something unique to Contini’s life, but all of them – his wife and his mistress, his Italian mamma and his artistic muse – simply coexisted in his life with very little competition. Subsequently, the movie is anticlimactic.

Still, this movie may suit those who truly enjoy musicals, no matter how dark or boring they may be.

“Nine” is recommended to moviegoers who enjoyed “Chicago” and “Mamma Mia.”

-Emily Katz

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