Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. United Kingdom/Ireland/USA, 1997. BBC Scotland, Ecosse Films, Irish Screen, WGBH. Screenplay by Jeremy Brock. Cinematography by Richard Greatrex. Produced by Sarah Curtis. Music by Stephen Warbeck. Production Design by Martin Childs. Costume Design by Deirdre Clancy. Film Editing by Robin Sales. Academy Awards 1997. Golden Globe Awards 1997. New York Film Critics Awards 1997.
The beautifully languid performances by Judi Dench and Billy Connolly are the main reason to watch this touching but shallow melodrama. Queen Victoria has hidden herself away in a northern estate to grieve her beloved husband, even going as far as hiring one of her husband’s personal manservants, John Brown (Connolly) in order to feel closer to his memory. Brown befriends her so effectively that he pulls her out of her state of grief and gives her a chance to enjoy life again, and soon the two are so inseparable that the Queen secretly gains the title of Mrs. Brown. In the face of being both country and state, having her job threatened by people’s lack of faith in her gender and their growing faith in the democratic parliament, the Queen is busy just trying to keep it together, but Brown gives her a few moments of sanity.