I enjoyed The Young Victoria much more than I thought I would. I had no idea that the young Victoria had had such a restricted, suffocating childhood, nor been so browbeaten by her mother. That she broke out from under that so young shows a sturdy character.
I also hadn’t realized Prince Albert had died so young. I had known that they had nine children and populated most of the royal houses of Europe. It fascinates me that that was a method for spreading influence, consolidating power, and assuring allies. It didn’t work out so well between Germany and England, with Victoria’s grandson becoming fierce rivals with his own uncle. Which just shows how complex families are and how likely it is that your most bitter antagonist will likely end up being a family member.
I also watched The Duchess, which was a visual feast and Keira Knightly was wonderful, but the whole thing just broke my heart. The poor duchess was hemmed in at every turn by that horrid duke. (And honestly, has Ralph Fiennes ever not played a jerk? Between this and The English Patient, I am NOT impressed. Which I suppose, conversely, makes him quite a good actor.)
I tried to watch The Book of Eli. Dystopic adventure starring Denzel Washington? I’m there. Except, there wasn’t any there there. I actually had a number of problems with the movie, but the one that finally had me turning it off midway was when the mysterious book everyone was after turned out to be the bible. Even though I knew it would be biblical in nature, having it be the actual bible was just too on-the-nose for me. It made it feel like there wasn’t any story involved. Also, the visual aesthetic was so harsh in contrast that it made it hard to watch. That and they were so busy framing the shots they forgot about story. And character. And all the bad guys felt really one-note. I have since heard there was a really intriguing twist at the end that made it all worth while, but that was too late for me. Which translates into a really good lesson: don’t save all the good stuff ‘til the end because people won’t wait that long…