Her comic insouciance is familiar, yes: When one of her scandalized advisers protests, in advance of a vacation, “You can’t take a Muslim to Florence,” she replies with a smile, “I can take a Muslim !
” But it’s her take on Victoria’s end-of-life depression I’ll remember most.
is superficially similar, but played more for laughs, as Dench’s later-in-life Victoria becomes quite charmed by the young servant Abdul (Ali Fazal), who has been sent from India to take part in a celebration in her honor.
Soon enough, Abdul becomes one of her closest friends and advisers, and the queen’s family reacts once more with highly pursed lips. You might think, having played roles like this before (and this particular part another time, too), that Dench would give something less than her all.
It’s the British Secret Intelligence Service, so Dench as the fictional figurehead is perfect — her intelligence is nosecret, and neither is her presence or value on screen.
Dench first appeared as M inthe 1995 Bond release .
There may also be a sense that the window of time to reward Dench is closing: Though she’s as spiritually spry as ever, Dench’s eyesight is failing and there may not be many opportunities left to nominate her.
Working Against Her: Though this is the sort of film that usually appeals to the Academy’s older demographic, reviews weren’t terribly strong out of , which would have allowed it more time to find an audience.
This is a diminished, resentful queen who’s been laid low and kept small by her advisers; it’s no wonder that she sparks to Abdul, asking him to teach her Urdu and his customs.
He said: “I came of age in the 60s and 70s, when all the rules about behaviour and workplaces were different.
That was the culture then,” the 65-year-old said.“I have since learned it’s not an excuse, in the office - or out of it.
Which of these talented women will make the final five?
, Dench played Queen Victoria as a mourning royal who’s inconsolable after the death of her prince consort; only the arrival of a Scottish servant can draw her out of seclusion, though the people around her are skeptical of his growing influence.