Rated PG - Running time: 1:43 - Released 7/11/97

Author's Note: This is one of the ten movie reviews I wrote for the October 30, 1997 issue of The Republican, the first week my reviews were ever published there. Because of space and time requirements, these ten reviews had to be especially brief, some even shorter than this Author's Note. Someday I will re-view them and re-review them so as to provide a more in-depth commentary, but for now you'll just have to live with the short version. Sorry. --JRM
While John Brown the abolitionist was making headlines here in the states in the early 1860's, another John Brown was doing so in England. Mrs. Brown, directed by John Madden and starring Judi Dench and Billy Connolly, is based on the true story of this rough-edged Scottish servant to Queen Victoria who was enlisted to aid the grief-stricken monarch after the death of her husband. At first put off by Brown's gruff informality, the queen soon comes around to see that he cares more about her than most of the others do who surround her. As the two develop a close friendship, the royal family and servant staff become appalled, and the derisive and relentless press has a field day, dubbing the queen "Her Majesty Mrs. Brown." One can't help but notice the tragic similarity to recent events with the British royal family.

This movie probably romanticizes the relationship between Brown and Victoria, but Dench and Connolly deliver a powerhouse performance, showing the rapport that quickly developed between the two. Dench's Victoria has a full palette of pent-up emotions bubbling inside her like a pressure-cooker; one can feel the power of her anguish which she must keep concealed at all costs, for the sake of propriety. Connolly gives John Brown a deep sense of pride in his Scottish heritage and an unrelenting desire to do what's best for the queen, regardless of threats, mockery, and violence. Full of rich scenery, sets and costumes, with an excellent supporting cast, this is a touching period piece not to be missed. *****

Copyright 1997 by John R. McEwen and The Republican

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