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Victoria and Abdul (2017)

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In 2 theaters near Ashburn VA US [change]

Queen Victoria strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim.

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(screenplay by), (based on the book by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Bertie, Prince of Wales
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Mohammed
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Lord Salisbury
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Dr. Reid
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Lady Churchill
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Miss Phipps
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Alick Yorke
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Arthur Bigge
Ruth McCabe ...
Mrs. Tuck
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Puccini
Sukh Ojla ...
Mrs. Karim
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Ahmed
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Storyline

Abdul Karim arrives from India to participate in Queen Victoria's golden jubilee. The young clerk is surprised to find favor with the queen herself. As Victoria questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance that her household and inner circle try to destroy. As their friendship deepens, the queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes, joyfully reclaiming her humanity.

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Based on an extraordinary true story. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and language | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

6 October 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Victoria y Abdul  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

AUD 1,888,081 (Australia) (17 September 2017)
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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Judi Dench played Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare in Love as well as Queen Victoria in two in separate films. See more »

Goofs

In one scene in the movie Queen Victoria tells Abdul that she is the longest reigning monarch in the world. This is not correct. Until Queen Elizabeth II overtook her she was the longest reigning monarch in British history, but the longest reigning monarch was French King Louis XV who reigned for over 70 years. See more »

Quotes

Queen Victoria: I am cantankerous, greedy, fat, I am perhaps disagreeably attached to power, but I am anything but insane!
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Connections

Follows Mrs Brown (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

A beautiful story beautifully told.
7 October 2017 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"I suddenly feel a great deal better." Victoria (Judi Dench) after Abdul (Ali Fazal) kisses her slipper.

Such is the layered humor and drama in the fine period piece, Victoria and Abdul. It's based on the true story at the end of the 19th century of her friendship with 24-year old Indian Muslim clerk, Abdul, who became her munshi or teacher ("Terribly handsome," she says upon seeing him). Some may remember her similar connection with servant Brown in the film, Mrs. Brown, after her husband, Albert, recently died.

The joys of this docudrama are in the steely but sentimental queen, incomparably portrayed by Dench, and the production design and costumes. At one point we are at her real retreat, Osborne House, on the Isle of Wight, a palace worth visiting by itself, notwithstanding the iconic Buckingham Palace. For further visual delight, see current The Viceroy's House with an Indian setting and similar production values.

The emotional core of the film is the joy Abdul brings her in the lessons he shares from his home, Urdu, the Quran, and mangoes, among other treasures. We learn, however, that political operatives are trying to prevent her friendship; almost everyone at the court has an ambitious agenda, and Abdul is virtually the only innocent. Even her son, Bertie (Eddie Izzard), is disloyal.

We know too little about Abdul because the limited exposition makes vetting him a challenge, at least for the audience. Yet, for the queen, loneliness is a constant companion, all the more reason for her to defend him, reject him, and defend him again against court intrigue.

The lyrical moments are of high order, such as when she sings, after prompting, "I'm Called Little Buttercup" from H.M.S. Pinafore. Dench pulls it off to make it sweet and affecting. That's pretty much the spirit of the entire film: watchable, fun, melancholic, and clear on the loneliness of power.

"I love peace and quiet, I hate politics and turmoil. We women are not made for governing, and if we are good women, we must dislike these masculine occupations." Victoria


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