Emily Parker reviews the historical drama.

Victoria And Abdul

In 2010, the diaries of Abdul Karim were discovered and the story of his friendship with Queen Victoria was revealed. Now their story makes it to the big screen in this historical drama.

Described as 'history's most unlikely friendship', Victoria and Abdul casts Academy Award winner, Judi Dench and Ali Fazal as young clerk Abdul Karim. Abdul travels from Agra in India as part of the Queen's Golden Jubilee where he receives unexpected favour from Her Majesty. Their friendship is questioned by those closest to Victoria as it crosses so many boundaries that were seen as unacceptable at the time. This only makes Abdul's loyalty to her stronger as he shares his experiences of life outside England and the ever changing world around her.

Judi Dench's performance as Victoria is endearing and re-enforces the fact that Dench is one of the best British actresses. Portraying a lonelier side to Victoria, you find yourself appreciating the status that being the Head of State carries.

Victoria And Abdul

Twenty years have passed since Judi Dench portrayed Victoria in Mrs Brown and there's a sense of heart-warming familiarity as she reprises this formidable ruler in the later stage of Victoria's life. Once again she comes across as strong minded, courageous and lusting for power. Dench was recently quoted at a press conference as saying, "I didn't know the story of Victoria and Abdul, so for me it was a question of taking that bit of history on and learning more about a really remarkable person."

Abdul is played by Ali Fazal who is best known for appearing in Fast and Furious 7; making this a very different role to any he has played before. Fazal is charming, witty and the devotion and loyalty he shows for Victoria is unquestionable. The sense of injustice you feel for him in the way he is seen by her family and those closest to her is heart-breaking.

The film takes you to some of the Royal family's favoured spots including the Scottish Highlands, Florence, and Osborne House on the Isle of White. The 19th century outfits, decor and settings fit the regal and traditional times of Victoria's reign.

Victoria And Abdul

Victoria and Abdul will make you laugh out loud and cry as the final months of Victoria's life are played out, and you will appreciate the accepting multicultural society we live in today.

Damaris Media create free film resources for community groups, to discuss the major themes in a film. The resources for Victoria and Abdul begin with a well written backdrop to how this true story came from diary to screen, the historical snapshot, and a character portfolio of who Abdul was. There are two guides available for this film, giving you the opportunity to reflect and discuss the friendship they share and the impact Queen Victoria's decisions had at the time. You can download the Victoria and Abdul discussion guide via the Damaris website or a version specifically for churches via the Mothers Union website who Damaris partnered with for this guide along with Age UK. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.