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Trailer Watch: The Queen Rediscovers Her Love of Life in “Victoria & Abdul”

“Victoria & Abdul”

The trailer for “Victoria & Abdul” sees Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) tired of her royal duties and her life. She falls asleep at extravagant state dinners. She’s uninterested in the Prime Minister (Michael Gambon) and his “terribly depressing” briefings. And she sounds more weary than proud when she rattles off her accomplishments: “I’m 81 years of age and have almost a billion citizens. I’ve been in office 62 years, making me the longest-serving monarch in history.”

As Queen Victoria tells her servant turned new friend and confidant, Abdul (Ali Fazal), she doesn’t feel she has a purpose anymore. “No one really knows what it’s like to be queen,” she tearfully confesses. “Everyone I love has died and I just go on and on. What is the point?”

Luckily, the queen’s outlook seems to change as her trust in Abdul grows and their friendship deepens. Abdul — who comes to England from India to present the queen with a special coin and ends up staying on as her personal servant — introduces Queen Victoria to new languages, food, and culture. Soon enough, the monarch rediscovers her passion as a ruler. When her son questions her mental state and threatens to usurp the throne, the queen is back to her usual fiery self. “I am cantankerous, greedy, fat,” she emphasizes. “I am, perhaps, disagreeably attached to power. But I am anything but insane.”

“Victoria & Abdul” sees Dench reuniting with her “Philomena” and “Mrs. Henderson Presents” director Stephen Frears. The Oscar winner previously portrayed Queen Victoria in 1997’s “Mrs. Brown.” The John Madden pic saw Dench playing the monarch as a newly bereaved widow. Similar to “Victoria & Abdul,” the film depicted how a new friendship, with John Brown (Billy Connolly) in that case, helped alleviate her depression and get back to her job.

“Victoria & Abdul” hits theaters September 22.

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Trailer Watch: The Queen Rediscovers Her Love of Life in “Victoria & Abdul” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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