as Queen Victoria in Mrs BROWN (1997)
Still in mourning over the death of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria meets Mr. Brown, a member of her household staff who thinks the time has come for her to start living a normal life. He soon gains the Queen's favor and friendship and his authority and status in the household are soon on the rise. This creates concerns among the Queen's many advisers who see their own influence diminishing and the Queen's reputation being tarnished. As a result, they move to ensure Mr. Brown's future influence in the household is kept in check. .
"Without you I can't find the strength to be who I must to be."
- Queen Victoria
Judi Dench received her first Oscar nomination for her performance as the Queen Victoria, deeply depressed after the death of her husband, she is brought back to life by the adoration and kindness of her servant Brown. The first time Judi Dench appears on screen, we already feel her sorrow. Her face can’t lie and delivers many emotions: sorrow, pain,
grief. The Queen is still mourning over the death of her beloved Prince Albert. She misses him dreadfully, allowing Judi Dench to give a poignant performance. Her loss turns her and she becomes a bit irritating and cold. A trusted servant of Victoria’s then deceased husband is called to help her because time has come for her to start living a normal life. Thanks to him, she is starting to enjoy life again. Judi Dench makes the transition from the mourning Queen to the new one who enjoys life so easily, and in a very believable way. Mr Brown becomes her confident, and a strange and unconventional relationship is formed. This creates concerns among the Queen's many advisers who see their own influence diminishing and the Queen's reputation being tarnished. Judi Dench and Billy Connolly manage to create a very strong and convincing relationship. With him, the Queen Victoria is joyful, lovely and Judi Dench is really a great charmer. Her acting is very natural and subtle, she manages to humanize her character. The way they care about each other is very touching. Judi Dench adds some lightness and calm to her portrayal. She’s never over the top. Her acting is very effective and honest, she doesn’t have to pretend because everything is so true.
"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."
- Film Quips Online
Despite the limits of her character, Judi Dench does her best and gives a lot of humanity to her character. She embodies the Queen larger than life in her posture and her speaking, and manages to give a very convincing performance on a lesser known chapter of her life.