A crowd-pleasingly sedate and historically dishonest account of Victoria's late-life friendship with a Muslim servant that makes hackneyed statements about cross-cultural friendship while cheerfully propagandising western imperialism and whitewashing the effects of British colonialism in India. Dench on top form though, I think she could rather do this role in her sleep.
Judi Dench revisits Queen Victoria 20 years after an award winning turn in Mrs Brown. Her performance here is worth the price of admission as is Fazal's and Izzard's. Technically, its top notch but the subject matter is a minefield of not only classism but racism, colonialism, and exploitation and the script doesn't always address these issues as adequately as the topic demands.
I wanted so much to like this film since the good parts are extremely good, from the lovely sets and costumes, to the flawless Judi Dench and charismatic Ali Fazal. Sadly, as the film progresses, its charm starts to wear thin (including some moments of questionable humor). Since the characters never evolve beyond single dimensions, you're stuck watching the same scenes with the same messages over and over again.