Movie Reviews # 56…

Victoria and Abdul. Stephen Fears, dir. I’d been meaning to see this one for a while. First, it’s based on a book. Second, it’s a true story. Third, it points out the racial and social prejudice in Queen Victoria’s court, which the Queen found despicable. Fourth, it shows how arrogant and the British upper class was in the Victorian age (they still are, of course)—even the Queen’s servants were complicit in the snobbery. Fifth, it’s a grand story about a class of cultures, how a lowly Indian gives many lessons about civility, courage, and humanity to those same Brits. All save Victoria. When she passes, the royal family, led by future King Edward, deports Victoria’s friend, Karim, and tries to obliterate any mention of him from British history.

Victoria is played by Judy Dench, and she deserves an Oscar for her performance. Abdul Karim, her faithful friend and poor Muslim from a country dominated by India’s own racist and social prejudice, is played by Ali Fazal, and he does a great job at it too. Karim teaches Victoria Urdu and many other things, including what asses her son, peers, and servants are, already she was already having doubts about all of them, yet felt trap in her inherited job.

George Bernard Shaw’s quotes are featured in my novel Rembrandt’s Angel (see below). The Irish playwright poked fun at the British aristocracy and their arrogance toward the common man. This movies does more than that. It’s an indictment of a gilded but tarnished age and an empire that caused many problems in the modern world, not just India.

***

Rembrandt’s Angel (a mystery/thriller from Penmore Press). To what lengths would you go to recover a stolen masterpiece? Scotland Yard’s Arts and Antiques Inspector Esther Brookstone goes the extra mile. She and paramour/sidekick Bastiann van Coevorden, an Interpol agent, set out to outwit the dealers of stolen art and recover “An Angel with Titus’ Features,” a Rembrandt painting stolen by the Nazis in World War Two. Their efforts lead to much more, as they uncover an international conspiracy that threatens Europe. During their dangerous adventures, their relationship solidifies and becomes a full-blown romance. This book is available in ebook format at Amazon and at Smashwords and its affiliate retailers. It’s available as a print version at Amazon, B&N, or your favorite bookstore (if not there, ask for it). Check out the review and interview on Feathered Quill. Happy reading!

In libris libertas!

Leave a Reply