Her Majesty, Mrs. Brown (1997)

Directed by John Madden
Written by Jeremy Brock
Starring Judi Dench, Billy Connolly, Geoffrey Palmer, Anthony Sher, Gerald Butler

My Advice: Wait for Cable.

After the death of Queen Victoria's mate, Prince Albert, the monarch was inconsolable and went into mourning away from public life.  She never seemed to want to leave it, didn't want to do anything, until a highlander by the name of John Brown was sent for.  He knew the late Albert, apparently, and it was hoped he might be able to help the Queen come back to what everyone considered to be her "senses." 

Though a decent period drama, there's really not much to the film.  You have Queen Victoria, tightly-wound to some degree, and you have John Brown, wound to a very small degree--and thus the movie passes.  Dench's much-lauded performance as the Queen is good, yes, but the standout in my mind is Connolly (who for some reason I associate with the origins of Scottish bestiality).  He is perfect for his role, a Scot who doesn't take any crap and who will run the risk of telling one of the most powerful women in the world exactly what he thinks.  He even calls her "Woman" to her face.  Also of note is Anthony Sher's performance as the smarmy Benjamin Disraeli, who's looking out for your best interests--no, really.  Unfortunately, the performances are not enough to carry this film, which feels much longer than its 83 minutes running time and has a very confusing (and needless) flashforward sequence in the beginning.  Worth seeing for Connolly's sake, but not much else to commend it.

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