- SKU: 20294173
- Release Date: 07/01/2011
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Director Jean-Marc Vallée takes the helm for this look at the turbulent early years of Queen Victoria (Emily Blunt), who was crowned at the age of 18, and whose ill-fated marriage to Prince Albert (Rupert Friend) would later prompt her into a life of mournful seclusion. Graham King and Martin Scorsese produce a film penned by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
The King's Speech
Emmy Award-winning director Tom Hooper (John Adams) teams with screenwriter David Seidler (Tucker: A Man and His Dreams) to tell the story of King George VI. When his older brother abdicates the throne, nervous-mannered successor George "Bertie" VI (Colin Firth) reluctantly dons the crown. Though his stutter soon raises concerns about his leadership skills, King George VI eventually comes into his own with the help of unconventional speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Before long the king and Lionel have forged an unlikely bond, a bond that proves to have real strength when the United Kingdom is forced to flex its international might. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Shakespeare in Love
William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) is on a cold streak. Not only is he writing for Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush), owner of "The Rose," a theatre whose doors are about to be closed by sadistic creditors, but he's got a nasty case of writer's block. Shakespeare hasn't written a hit in years. In fact, he hasn't written much of anything recently. Thus, the Bard finds himself in quite a bind when Henslowe, desperate to stave off another round of hot-coals-to-feet application, stakes The Rose's solvency on Shakespeare's new comedy, "Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter." The problem is, "Romeo" is safely "locked away" in Shakespeare's head, which is to say that not a word of it is written. Meanwhile, the lovely Lady Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow) is an ardent theatre-goer -- scandalous for a woman of her breeding -- who especially admires Shakespeare's plays and, not incidentally, Bill himself. Alas, she's about to be sold as property into a loveless marriage by her mercenary father and shipped off to a Virginia tobacco plantation. But not before dressing up as a young man and winning the part of Romeo in the embryonic play. Shakespeare soon discovers the deception and goes along with it, using the blossoming love affair to ignite his muse. As William and Viola's romance grows in intensity and spirals towards its inevitable culmination, so, too, does the farcical comedy about Romeo and pirates transform into the timeless tragedy that is Romeo and Juliet. ~ Merle Bertrand, Rovi
William Makepeace Thackeray's witty assessment of the British class system, as seen through the experiences of one young woman, is brought to the screen with some serious star power in this period comedy drama. Becky Sharp (Reese Witherspoon) is a bright and ambitious girl born to a poor British family. Becky is determined to make something of herself however she can, and after accepting a job as a nanny for the children of the powerful and aristocratic Sir Pitt Crawley (Bob Hoskins), she wastes no time ingratiating herself with the family. Pretty Becky catches the eye of Crawley's handsome and eligible son Rawdon (James Purefoy), and becomes chummy with sharp-tongued Aunt Matilda (Eileen Atkins). Between the two of them, Becky is introduced to London's most exclusive social circle, where she becomes re-acquainted with Amelia Sedley (Romola Garai), a former school chum who is amused by Becky's efforts to scale the ladder of social influence. Becky weds Rawdon, but following initial happiness, the social and economic stability she dreamed of begins to collapse when he begins drowning his troubles in gambling and drink, and soon she turns to the powerful Marquess of Steyne (Gabriel Byrne) for support. Meanwhile, Amelia's fortunes fall even harder following the death of her husband. Vanity Fair was directed by Mira Nair, who enjoyed a surprise international success with 2002's Monsoon Wedding. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
The British prime minister and the Royal Family find themselves quietly at odds in the wake of a national tragedy in this drama from director Stephen Frears. On August 31, 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales died in an auto accident in Paris; despite the controversial breakup of her marriage to Prince Charles, she was still one of the most famous and best-loved women in the world, and the public outpouring of emotion over her passing was immediate and intense. However, given the messy circumstances of Diana's breakup with Charles, official spokespeople for the Royal Family were uncertain about how to publicly address her passing. It didn't take long for the media to pick up on the hesitation of Buckingham Palace to pay homage to Diana, and many saw this as a sign of the cool emotional distance so often attributed to the royals, which in this case was widely seen as an insult against Diana and the many people who loved her. Prime Minister Tony Blair (played by Michael Sheen) saw a potential public-relations disaster in the making, and took it upon himself to persuade Queen Elizabeth II (played by Helen Mirren) to make a statement in tribute to the fallen Diana -- an action that went against the taciturn queen's usual nature. The Queen was released the same year that Helen Mirren played Queen Elizabeth I in an acclaimed miniseries for British television; The Queen also gave Michael Sheen his second opportunity to play Tony Blair after portraying the prime minister in the television film The Deal. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Cast & Crew
- Emily Blunt - Queen Victoria
- Rupert Friend - Prince Albert
- Paul Bettany - Lord Melbourne
- Miranda Richardson - Duchess of Kent
- Jim Broadbent - King William