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Mrs Brown

September 5, 2010

Mrs Brown (1997)
Director: John Madden
Actors: Judi Dench, Billy Connolly, Geoffrey Palmer

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Synopsis: A mournful Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) slowly begins to thaw in the company of loyal footman, John Brown (Billy Connolly).

Review: Making a restrained, low-budget chamber-piece is one thing. Making that very enterprise inordinately dull and acutely undramatic is something else, and unfortunately director John Madden commits the second offence. In many ways, the minimal production values, bland colour palette and unobtrusive camerawork suit the story of mid-Victorian Britain. What lets the film down however, is its own conception of its two lead characters – Queen Victoria and John Brown – who are much less sympathetic than was intended. There is no real tension or direction in the dynamic of their relationship, save for the minimally-interesting conceit of Brown covertly helping restore Victoria to her duties as Head of State from her period of mourning. Unfortunately, the two characters come across as strangely motiveless and one-dimensional, making for a rather flat and austere end-result. (May 2006)

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