Victoria And Abdul

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Director: Stephen Frears. Starring: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Eddie Izzard. UK/USA 2017. 112 mins.

The year is 1887, and the British Empire is celebrating Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. A young Indian clerk, Abdul Karim (Fazal), travels to England to present the monarch with a ceremonial coin. “Whatever you do, you must not look at Her Majesty,” he is told. But he does. And he smiles. And so begins one of the unlikeliest friendships in history. As the Queen (Dench) questions the constrictions of her long-held position, she forms a strong bond with her newest servant. Their devoted alliance provokes outrage and conspiracy within the Royal Household, but it also rejuvenates the cosseted ruler, who begins to see a changing world through new eyes. A lavish, heartfelt period drama with wit and charm, Victoria And Abdul allows us to peek beyond the portraits and imagine the hardships – and joys – of being the figurehead of the last true empire.

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