Let's Discuss: 'The Young Victoria' vs. 'Victoria'

While history buffs try to separate fact from fiction regarding the recent “Victoria” TV series, this movie and TV fan will take on a far simpler task. Comparing the enchanting, 2009 film “The Young Victoria,” to Season 1 of ITV/PBS' ambitious TV series, “Victoria.”

The same queen.

Two entertainment mediums.

One incredible love story.

Which one did it better? Let's dig in...

Victoria vs. Victoria


Actresses Emily Blunt and Jenna Coleman have each given a lively take on the famous queen. In 2009’s “The Young Victoria,” Blunt is utterly divine as a kind, and down-to-earth, Victoria. Coleman is equally as beguiling as a feistier version in the TV series.

To put it bluntly, Blunt's characterization is sweet, while Coleman's is sassy. This difference between the two is entirely due to the script.


Which one did it better?


Tie - As Victoria, both Blunt, and Coleman, imbue the young Queen Victoria with an infectious zeal, and both, are equally excellent at portraying their scripted version of her, and both are congruent to the other.

[Image by Momentum Pictures]

Albert vs. Albert


The portrayal of Prince Albert is where ITV/PBS’ “Victoria,” and the 2009 film, diverge the most. On “Victoria,” Albert is given a very millennial persona, portrayed as a stormy, angst-ridden soul.

While “Young Victoria” scripts Albert, as you will find him in the real-life letters he penned; a kind and consciences man, who was no pushover. In the movie, Albert is much more interested in building a partnership with Victoria, than working to prove his own self-worth or gain validation.

On “Victoria,” Albert is shown as being less self-assured and more concerned over a perceived legacy, of living in his wife’s shadow.

Which one did it better?


“The Young Victoria” - Rupert Friend’s portrayal of Albert is gallant, with a regalness that feels effortless. His Albert is a gentleman, who speaks his mind without ever coming across cold, or disengaged.


The Love Story


In real life, Queen Victoria, and Prince Albert were a dynamic, power couple. Their partnership changed their world, and heavily influenced the one that has followed.

On “Victoria,” her relationship, and potential love affair with Lord Melbourne is as much of a story, as hers with Albert. It is a key difference between the movie and the TV series. Sadly, it detracts from hers and Albert's love story once it finally commences on "Victoria."

Making matters more tangled is that there is no concrete evidence there was anything more than a platonic connection between Victoria, and Melbourne. To be fair, “The Young Victoria” embellishes the fallout of the assassination attempt on Victoria.

In “Young Victoria,” the light-hearted spirit of Victoria and Albert’s relationship is captured in lovely form. There is an exuberant tenderness captured by Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend that sells the story.


While the script gives viewers a rich sense of the delightfully passionate side of Victoria and Albert’s storied relationship, and when the ending title card shares the sad conclusion of their marriage, it hits with stinging emotion.

Which one did it better?


“The Young Victoria” - One of the scenes that best sums up the film comes towards the end, as Victoria moves Albert’s desk next to hers, so they can work together. Together - as in a partnership, neither head higher.

It is a romantic ideal with modern implications. When it comes to Victoria and Albert’s love story, “Young Victoria” wins hands down.

[Image by ITV plc/ITV Global Entertainment Ltd]

Melbourne vs. Melbourne


“Victoria” insinuates a romantic connection between Queen Victoria and Lord Melbourne. While in “Young Victoria,” their relationship is portrayed as nothing more than a respectful friendship.

Rufus Sewell’s Lord M. is dashing, and charismatic, while Paul Bettany’s take in “Young Victoria” is more restrained and blustery.

Which one did it better? 


“Victoria” - Even though it is not historically accurate, Sewell’s captivating performance easily makes you forget that fact.

Set Design


The set design in both “Young Victoria” and “Victoria” is very cinematic.

Which one did it better?


Tie – Both fit the world they are presenting.

[Image by Momentum Pictures]

Cinematography


The luminous cinematography of “The Young Victoria” creates a bubbly world for an equally vivacious queen. The cinematography is pure eye candy, and it is delicious to behold.

The look for “Victoria” is more subdued, and austere. While you get the sense its characters live in an expensive world, you never really feel it. “The Young Victoria” proved you can convey a costume drama, without having to film it through a cloudy lens.

Which one did it better?


“The Young Victoria” – For the sheer pleasure, gazing upon its vivacity, brings.

Costuming


Like its cinematography, “The Young Victoria” goes all-out with its costuming, offering up one vibrantly colored confection after another. Likewise, the costumes on “Victoria” compliment the series’ overall ambiance. They have an acute eye-to-detail, and it shows.

Which one did it better?


Tie - Both are very different but equally flattering to the world they conjure.

[Image by Momentum Pictures]

Overall Storytelling


Both cover remarkably similar ground, timeline wise, which makes comparing the two incredibly easy. To each adaptation’s credit, both tell the intricate, and elaborate story of its eponymous queen to splendid results. 

Which one did it better?


“The Young Victoria” - Victoria and Albert’s marriage is more romantic in “The Young Victoria,” and in a shorter period of time, one can easily see understand why she wore black, every day after his death. They were that in love.



Which adaptation told Victoria's early years, better?


Victoria got to spend a little over 20 years with her soul mate. She spent 40, without him. The movie and the TV series, drive home the point that Victoria immensely loved, and greatly benefited from her relationship with Albert. In the end, their marriage would shape the world, and both adaptations help you understand why.

Final Verdict: "Young Victoria" vs. "Victoria," which one did it better?


Tie - Ultimately, both tell a unique side of the same story, and there is a lot to love, and admire about both.

“Victoria” Season 2 premieres on PBS Masterpiece, January 14, 2018, at 9 p.m. EST. As of January 2018, "The Young Victoria" is streaming on Netflix.

[Featured Image by Momentum Pictures/ITV Plc]

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