Thursday, April 22, 2010

into the 19th-century

I've been waiting so long to see this movie. Since we live in the woods, this film never made it here on the big screen though I'm sure it was shown in Seattle. But getting my husband to drive 3-1/2 hours to see a romantic movie is not an option, even with popcorn and malted milk balls thrown in:)

My friend Ruth spotlighted this film on her blog. She does the most remarkable reviews of books and movies (and more!) despite having a day job. Kudos to Ruth! The video just came to our tiny town so I rented it. And I'm so glad I did. Doesn't the photo just make your historical-loving heart beat a little faster? Queen Victoria was a remarkable person in her own right. Being fascinated with the history of the British royal family, I've read about her in detail and loved the film of her in her older years, Mrs. Brown. Highly imaginative, perhaps, as we'll never really know if she fell in love with that rascally Scotsman, John Brown, but it made a wonderful movie.

I don't want to tell you too much about The Young Victoria in case you want to see it yourself. But since we're talking about the royals, I will tell you a related story. A few years ago, I was attending a missions conference here in Washington State and heard a story you won't find in the media. The keynote speaker said that shortly before her death, Princess Diana was seated by an evangelist at a banquet. Their talk eventually turned to personal matters and she began to question him about Jesus, the Bible, and spiritual things. This talk led to her accepting Christ as her Savior in the weeks to come, before that tragic car crash along the Seine. I don't remember anything else that was said from the podium that night - just that. And I remember the soloist sang one of my favorite hymns, His Eye is on the Sparrow. I like to think that, if true, a troubled princess had her happy ending, after all - in Him. And I was reminded of that all over again as I watched this moving movie.

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisty, the most profitable explanation is that I was made for another world. -C.S. Lewis


  1. I'm off to put Young Victoria on my Netflix list. It looks wonderful! Can you reccomend a good biography of her? The only one my library has is a dusty old book from the 70s. I want something written more recently.

    That tidbit about Princess Diana just gave me chill bumps. What wonderful news! I loved her and was so sad to read of her interest in New Age things. To know that she accepted Christ is thrilling.

  2. Laura, thank you so much for sharing that about Princess Diana. I'm so glad to know. It gives me hope for someone else who was very special to me. Bless you!

    And I'm putting Young Victoria at the top of my Netflix queue. I recently put Amazing Grace into the DVD player, first time in about a year. Still love that film so much. I had Kindred pretty much written, first draft, by the time AG came out, but to actually see Olaudah Equiano portrayed on the big screen (his slave narrative, published in 1792, plays a part in my historical), was just incredible. I went back and saw that movie in theater 10 times, following it from our big theater to the little half-price one in the next town over.

    I also greatly enjoyed Mrs. Brown.

  3. Laura, I am SO glad you finally got to see The Young Victoria & that you enjoyed it as much as I did. And thanks so much for the blog shout-out, you are too kind. :)

    Mary - If I can jump in here, I read Lytton Strachey's biography of Queen Victoria for one of my European History classes in college - it was published in the 1920s but is quite readable and considered a "classic" bio, if memory serves. Also, if you're into more Victoria-related history, Victoria's Daughters by Jerrold M. Packard is a great read!

  4. Yes, Mary, I was thrilled to hear it, too. Apparantly her New Age musings failed to deliver. I've read that Prince Charles is into New Age, mystical, all-things-green beliefs, also. Would be interested to know where Queen E is on all of this. I always had a heart for Diana. She was such a lost person yet had everything. We were the same age so I was aware of her especially while I went to school in England.

    I think you will just love the movie! It is so well done on every level. My husband even liked it. Lots of political stuff that may be better understood on a second viewing but if you know a little about British history, it will come clear.

    And I'm always so thrilled to talk about books. There are quite a few new ones out about Victoria and her family. Here are some good ones you will probably be able to get through inter-library loan:

    Queen Victoria by Lytton Strachey

    We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals by Gillian Gill

    Queen Victoria (Essential Biographies Series) by Elizabeth Longford

    Happy reading to you:)

  5. I kept The Young Victoria at the top of my Netflix queue so I'd get it as soon as it became available. It arrived yesterday, and I dropped everything to watch it. Since I write historicals set in the Victorian era, I love learning more about the Queen and her beloved prince. The movie does a wonderful job showing the relationship between them--a real life romance. The acting is great, and the costumes are incredible. This is one DVD I'll buy so I can enjoy the movie again and again.

    Thanks for sharing that little known fact about Diana and her conversion. What a relief it is to hear that she finally found true peace.

  6. Lori, Now I have to see Amazing Grace again, thanks to you:) It's one of my all time favorite movies, too. Very moving and so finely acted! I have the soundtrack which is wonderful but haven't listened in awhile.

    I think you broke my record for The Last of the Mohicans. I saw it so many times, but you might have beat me with Amazing Grace!? There's something so gratifying about seeing a movie on the big screen when it's well done like that. I'm afraid my little tin can of a tv fails to deliver.

    I think you'll love TYV. And glad to know you liked Mrs. Brown. I'm such a Scots lover that I fell for him, myself:)

    I think there are so many Diana lovers out there. I think I've read every book ever written about her. She had so many gifts (compassion for one). So glad she finally met the Giver!

  7. My pleasure, Ruth. Your review of this movie is so very insightful and educational and more:) BTW, I saw Sherlock Holmes this week also. This is a rare movie night week for me. Downey was GREAT even hyped up as it was. My family loved it and they would have snoozed through a former version. Happy viewing this week!

  8. Keli, Neat to think we were watching this great movie the same day:) Yes, it was so well done. The costumes - oh my - wouldn't you love to have some of her hats and gowns? I'd take even the black mourning ones. I think this is a movie that just improves the more you watch it. Lots of layers and history within.

    After hearing this about Diana, I've always wondered who the evangelist was that sat beside her at the banquet. There are some amazing pastors in England right now, a country that has been considered spiritually cold for some time. I do believe Victoria and Albert had Christian beliefs, based on their writings (diaries and letters). But we really don't know, I guess. I love this part of history, like you. Makes me want to write a Victorian novel:)

  9. What an amazing story about Princess Diana!

    I forgot about this movie since I don't think I saw a trailer for it but once or twice. It seems they come and go out of the theater so fast you don't have time to see them before they're gone. Thanks for the reminder. I'll check it out:)

    And I absolutely love the C.S. Lewis quote! Thanks

  10. Isn't Lewis amazing, Kristen?! I'd love to have his mind:) He was a find writer. You are so right - the really good (clean, moving, edifying) movies seem to last just a few days in the theaters. BTW, Prince Albert is quite a heart-stopping hero in this one. All the more engaging because he was quite honorable in real life. She certainly found the right man.

  11. You cannot imagine how badly I want to see The Young Victoria. I missed it when it was in theatre too. If it even came to Lexington at all.

    I've long been fascinated by the British royal family. Got up at 3-4 in the morning to watch Charles and Diana's wedding. Did I mention I was 4 years old when I did this? Got up at the same time to watch Diana's funeral. :( I do love what you heard from the evangelist though, I'd really love to be able to meet her in heaven.

    Lexington Public Library does have The Young Victoria, hopefully the copy at my branch will be available either when I get off work tonight, or on Saturday.

    Speaking of royal movies, have you watched The Queen? It's about Queen Elizabeth at Balmoral during the week that Diana died. If not it's a great movie.

    Love the C.S. Lewis quote.

  12. YAY, Michelle, you found it at the library:) I hope ours will carry it, too, as I'd love to watch it over and over. I haven't seen The Queen but it sounds great! I am a big Queen E fan and also was fond of Granny:) She had quite the love story of her own. I will certainly look TQ up - thanks for the tip.

    Being 4 and watching the wedding is sweet! I think so many of us would love to be a princess or at least have a fairy tale wedding. I was not 4 but Diana's same age and stuck on an island in the middle of Lake Superior with no tv or cars or anything remotely civilized:) I remember being very sorry about that. But I did watch reruns of it once I got home.

    Hope the movie is available and makes your weekend:)

  13. I can't wait to see this movie either! I haven't read too terribly much about Victoria (I attempted to read a biography from the library but it was so stale I never got past the first few chapters) but her influence was amazing! I read somewhere some quotes by her about childrearing, lol. She didn't seem to be too impressed with babies, though she had a large passel of them!

    That's a lovely story about Diana. Hers was such a bittersweet story.

  14. My blog home has moved!! Please update your link to me if you have one, if not come see me!!

  15. Margaret, Hoping your new blog home is treating you well:) Thanks for the update here!

  16. Heather, After you see this movie you might be a Victoria fan:) Some books about her are quite dull and read more like textbooks. And I'm chuckling as I'm remembering something she said about newborns - that they resembled "frogs" and she found them very unappealing - and these were her own! She certainly had some funny views on children. I don't think she had much maternal instinct though she did appreciate her older children much more, if I remember right.

    Hope this is a great art day for you. I'm in love with your beautiful bees:) Bless you!

  17. It is so much better than I thought it would be although there were a few kinks to work out.

  18. Every princess should have a happy ending, especially when we become daughters of the King of Kings!

    His Eye is on the Sparrow was one of my Nana's favorites, and mine, too!

    Sweet Blessings, Princess Laura!

  19. Just another plug for The Queen. We enjoyed it muchly.

  20. Carla, Love that! King of Kings and daughters of the King:) Which means we're sisters. I've always wanted one of those.

    My youngest son calls me "Princess Twinkie." Not sure why. I do love Twinkies and I've always wanted to be a princess so maybe it fits, after all!

    Bless you right back!

  21. Sisters indeed! Princess Twinkie - that's so cute!

  22. Love the "muchly," Lori:) Smacks of 18th-century stuff. Can't wait to hear what you all think of the movie when you see it. Your encouragement and coming back when I post means so much!!

    And Carla, Bless you and everyone for your comments here. It's hard at times to keep posts fresh and I've heard from readers that they get such a kick out of the comments and like them so much - as much as the posts!

    Oh my, am repeating myself. Has been a looooonnnnggg day:)

  23. I've been DYING to see this movie.

    That was an interesting tidbit about Princess Diana, by-the-way.

  24. Britt, So good to see you here! You won't be disappointed with this movie. I'm already planning to rent it again:) Will have to hop over to your blog. I've missed your posts!

  25. Oh! I loved this movie...had to wait for its release through Netflix too, but did get to watch it last weekend. And yes, it did speak to "my historical-loving heart!" :)
    So wonderful to read about Princess Diana, thanks for sharing.

  26. Suzanne, So glad you liked the movie. I can't wait to watch it again and pick up all the little threads that I missed the first time. This is one movie I'd like to buy and I rarely buy movies. I've downloaded the soundtrack which is so lovely. Great music to write by. Better than Spongebob in the background, my boys top pick, anyway. Bet you can relate to that:)

  27. "Are you ready kids? Aye, Aye Captain. I can't hear you. Aye, Aye, Captain!!! Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?" :)

    Should I be embarrassed that I know that?? lol!

    I'm planning on purchasing Young Victoria too! The music was beautiful, the costumes, gorgeous! will be a joy to watch again and again. I don't usually buy that many movies either, just a few BBC Masterpiece favorites and Young Victoria will be going on that shelf!

  28. Suzanne, Can you hear me laughing all the way to Boise?! Thanks for the chuckle. I don't know whether to praise Spongebob or boot him. I think I will be sad when my boys outgrow him. Of course I was sad when they outgrew Little Bear and Beatrice Potter tales:)
    Am off to Amazon to see how much the DVD is for TYV. I didn't see it at Costco but maybe it's coming. Bless you.