Victoria and Abdul review

She may be 82 years old and her eyesight may be failing her, but Dame Judi Dench is a force like no other on the big screen.

She's back this week, in Victoria and Abdul.

Twenty years after she first played Queen Victoria on the big screen in Mrs Brown, Dame Judi returns to do so again.

In the twilight years of Queen Victoria's reign, a young Indian man is sent to Britain to present his Empress of India with a gift for her golden jubilee.

Abdul Karim is sternly warned he must not, under any circumstances, make eye contact with the Queen.

It would be the first of many, many times that Karim would defy members of the royal household.

As their unlikely friendship grows, he is elevated to the status of Munshi, her teacher. The storm around them grows too.

Soon the Queen's son and future King, Bertie (Eddie Izzard), will mount a full-scale offensive against Karim, his mission a simple one - to discredit the Munshi, and send him back to India.

Izzard is an unexpected highlight. He and Dame Judi are a simple joy to watch, sparring as mother and son, Queen and heir apparent, together adding much needed heft to proceedings.

There is something a little too Masterpiece Sunday Theatre about the delivery here, but there is, of course, that one irrefutable truth that should govern any movie choice and should almost certainly govern you here - any time spent in a cinema with Dame Judi is time and money well spent.

Three-and-a-half-stars.

Newshub.

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