Victoria and Abdul is a moving, poignant, heartfelt, laugh-out-loud funny film and yes, tearful at the end. Every heartstring and every emotion possible is pulled and plucked, while the dialogue is, as you would expect from a BBC coproduction with Working Titles Films, funny, acerbic, scathing, observant, and so much more. The asides and back chat, the whispers and hushed conversations, as important as every wonderful moment between Dame Judi Dench, as Victoria, and Ali Fazal, as Abdul Karim, her beloved Munshi [teacher] and, over the years, a trusted advisor. He gave her daily lessons in Urdu (how to write and speak the language) and counselled her on Indian Affairs, much to the consternation of her other advisors at the time, including Bertie — later to become the short lived King Edward VII.
Their 14 year friendship is squashed into a near two hour movie, so I’m sure a great deal has been sacrificed to give us this ‘snap-shot’ of their time together. But what a glorious snap-shot of a movie. Beautifully filmed and acted by the stellar cast of famous Brit actors. This is, for me at least, one of those outstanding movies that I am sure, will stand the test of time. Reminiscent of those Merchant Ivory productions, that suck you in and don’t let you go till the last frame has flickered off the screen.