Mrs. Brown

Director:John Madden
Writer:Jeremy Brock
Director of Photography:Richard Greatrex
Editor:Robin Sales
Music:Stephen Warbeck
Production Designer:Martin Childs
Producer:Sarah Curtis
Miramax; PG; 90 minutes
Cast:Judi Dench, Billy Connolly, Antony Sher and David Westhead

This inspired delight meshes Victorian history with subtle comedy, recalling 1994's The Madness of King George. Dench's compelling performance reminds us why she's known in England as Dame Judi. Her Queen Victoria possesses royal airs, but at her core resides an anguished woman who continues to closet herself and her family three years after her husband's death. Scottish highlander John Brown, who was King Albert's favorite servant, is brought in to lift Victoria's spirits and get her out of the house. What follows is the story of their 20-year, eyebrow-raising relationship. Rumors abounded that they were romantically linked, and we see early tabloid journalists at work with their telescopes. The film doesn't depict their supposed assignations, but their possibility is never far from the surface. Let's hope that Dench will soon again find time in her busy London stage career to have a go at film.