Victoria & Abdul (2017)
Not even the marriage of the Duke & Duchess of Sussex in the morning, nor the FA cup final in the afternoon could dent the intent of 61 people to watch this very enjoyable film. Although we missed a few 'old regulars', we were happy to welcome several new faces - including Juliette who picked up the bottle of bubbles for being the 2,000th audience member to pass through our doors. We had just one short film: The Shooting Star Salesman, which mirrored the thesme of unexpected friendships continued in the main feature.
A light, entertaining film, superbly acted. The Queen's household, threatened by Abdul's influence over her, are entirely bereft of their customary control. Their resentment is compounded by their unrelenting racism and the fact that Abdul is not even high born. The pomposity of the household makes them look ridiculous. The Queen remains adamant right up to her death, as she believes Abdul is the only person she can rely on in her entourage to ease her personal cares as a lonely old woman. The short film was a fantasy, also dealing with loneliness and aspirations. A Willie Wonka type character, who also echoes Oscar Wilde's Dorian Grey, was selling shooting stars, although not too successfully until the child next door takes on the salesmanship and restores the man's belief in himself. Some new young faces joined the discussion group this time and the debate was lively. There were mixed opinions over the short film. Some of our number thought it needed more editing and was more like a work in progress. The main feature came under criticism in relation to the dramatic license taken over known facts e.g. the full burka would not have been worn by Muslims in India, even at that period. We all agreed that the Queen was beautifully and sympathetically depicted in the many close up shots. Still grieving for Albert, she desired and searched for the comfort only an altruistic friend could give. Sonia