Archives for posts with tag: michiel huisman

The current trend of biography is lengthy and complicated (see “The Crown,” or “Victoria”), which is possibly admirable. If, however, you are looking for the film biography equivalent of a chocolate soufflé, look no further than The Young Victoria.

As the title suggests, this film deals only with the early, Cinderella-type years of Victoria’s life, when she falls in love and is kind of bad at being the queen, and before she gets jowly and depressing. Helpfully, Victoria’s life was peopled with engagingly cartoonish heroes and villains, and they find excellent avatars here. Victoria (Emily Blunt) is so young, and slightly too pretty, and she is liable to listen to Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany) because he is handsome and she is frighteningly sheltered. Her mother (Miranda Richardson) and Sir John Conroy (Mark Strong) would like to control her, and have made a decent go of it for the first 17 years of her life. Sir John is so evil, and so delightful. He wears amazing trousers.

mv5bmtm4mjexmdk3nv5bml5banbnxkftztcwmtu3otmwmw-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_Enter Albert (Rupert Friend), who is also unbelievably young, and unbelievably Romantically German. His hair! His shirtsleeves! His awkward love of Schubert! His hilariously tolerant brother Ernest (Michiel Huisman)! Apparently Ernest was awful in real life, but here he just rolls his eyes when Albert is adorably dumb about Sir Walter Scott.

To be sure, the most interesting thing about Victoria was not her romantic life, but it makes a good feature film. She and Albert are so young, and so silly, and so in love, and so well dressed. They care just enough about the poor and about progress that you aren’t grossed out by their fake problems. You’re sad when they fight and pleased when they make up, and why can’t some dreamy moron come visit me with a pair of giant dogs?

Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Rating: PG
Length: 105 minutes
Score: 5/5

Ads for this movie ran all the time before it came out, and I think I’d meant to see it.  The previews were gorgeous, as if Blake Lively had made an extremely stylish perfume commercial in every decade in the twentieth century.

That’s really all there is. Adaline Bowman (Lively) almost dies in the and her twenties, but, because of some dubious scientific mumbo-jumbo, not only doesn’t die but actually stops aging.  Obviously.  In the fifties or sixties the FBI gets really hot under the collar about it, plus there’s the obvious social awkwardness when your daughter starts to look older than you.  So she moves house (apparently only within and around San Francisco) and changes her name every ten years.  When we meet her, she has just obtained a new passport, and is finishing out her job in the public archives before a move to Oregon under the new pseudonym.  Because of her condition, she has never allowed anyone to love her since her husband died young, and this tragedy lies heavy on her, though it does not compromise the bounciness of her ponytail.

Enter Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman), tech Croesus and philanthropist.  He falls for her at once, and is the kind of pushy about it that you can only be if you’re very handsome.  Because of how plots work, Adaline (currently called Jenny) finds herself falling for him, too, even though she’s so security-obsessed.  She judges both his cooking and his taste in jazz, since her age allows her to have buckets of knowledge and be hyper-observant and her beauty allows her to be kind of an ass.

After something like three weeks of dating, Ellis takes her up to his parents’ fortieth anniversary do.  His dad, William (Harrison Ford), is an astronomer who keeps waiting for a comet to pass.  Now, obviously William and Adaline had an affair in the sixties, and obviously Adaline and the comet are analogous near misses.  William figures it out and yells about how desperately he wants Adaline to learn to love, at least for Ellis’s sake.

And here’s the kicker: after about thirty seconds of self-centered nonsense and running away, Adaline figures that’s fine!  And Ellis is not bothered!  What the actual foxtrot!

I have so many questions.  First, why does it not occur to Adaline to ask what Ellis’s dad’s name is?  They share a surname, and, unlike Adaline, William doesn’t lie about his.  Second, why is the Freudian weirdness never addressed?  Third, why isn’t the actor who plays young William in the sixties flashbacks going to play young Han Solo (no disrespect to Alden Ehrenreich)?

This is a silly, rather dreadful movie.  Huisman is cute and Lively looks stunning in every possible decade, somehow managing to find splendid jazz age gowns in the 2010s.  The emotional beats, however, are stupid and insulting, and the unnecessary fake science is worse.  But if you want to watch a feature-length perfume ad, go ahead.

Director: Lee Toland Krieger
Rating: PG-13
Length: 112 minutes
Score: 2/5