Victoria & Abdul (2017) is a sweet little movie that wants to be liked but that can’t help but offend. Attacks on Victoria & Abdul from left-wing, grievance-mongering, race-mongering reviewers tell us much about how the left manipulates history, prostitutes art, and imprisons the human heart to keep hate alive, and to anathemize objective facts. Hypocritical, counterfactual, and anti-human Marxist myth-making marches on in critical pans of Victoria & Abdul.
There is a massive amount of media devoted to Victoria, queen of the empire on which the sun never set. It seems incredible that there might be a previously obscure chapter in Queen Victoria’s life, but there is. In her final thirteen years on earth, Victoria Regina Imperatrix took to her ample bosom a dark-skinned, India-born, Muslim commoner, Abdul Karim. In 1887, when Karim was 24 and Victoria was 68, Karim was tapped to present Victoria with a medal. He kissed her feet. She noticed how tall and good looking he was. They became so close that they once spent a night alone together at Glas-allt-Shiel, her isolated Scottish “cottage,” actually a modest mansion. Victoria had previously spent a night alone there with John Brown. After Brown died, a broken-hearted Victoria swore she would never return to Glas-allt-Shiel. But she did. With Karim.
Victoria’s household resented Karim. When many threatened to resign unless she axed him, the staid, plump, elderly monarch flew into a rage and swept the contents of her desk onto the floor. After Victoria died, in 1901 at age 81, Karim was the last person to see her remains before the solemn closure of her coffin. She had stipulated that he be among the intimate mourners at her funeral, along with her close family members. …
Victoria & Abdul realizes that it is telling a story that leftists will love to hate. Abdul, a brown-skinned, Muslim, oppressed Indian, comes to love his oppressor, Queen Victoria, a white, Christian, European monarch who is depicted as kind and loving. There is no way that story could pass the Political Correctness purity test.
The filmmakers tried hard to forfend the hate with revisions to real history. These PC fixes are as obvious as ugly patches sewn onto an exquisite gown so that the wearer can pass safely beyond an enforcer who demands that all be equally ugly.
Politically Correct, historically revisionist patch # 1: It is true that Victoria’s family and household objected to Karim. The film posits only one possible motivation for this hostility: whites are uniquely and uniformly ignorant, racist xenophobes and Islamophobes. The film places the burden of this stereotype on Bertie, Prince of Wales, Victoria’s oldest son. In the film, Bertie is depicted by comedian and leftist political activist Eddie Izzard as an anally-fixated, bug-eyed, rageaholic, white supremacist. In the past, Minstrel Shows marketed racist images of blacks. Today, Politically Correct entertainment gives us Minstrel Show whites, all privilege, ignorance, and sputtering racist hatred.
Izzard, to his credit, acknowledges in an interview that he played Bertie as a “two-dimensional battering ram.” Izzard knows that Bertie might have had complex reasons for resisting Karim. “It doesn’t matter what color skin [Karim] had, what sex … If he’s making Queen Victoria live longer, he’s stopping me from being king.” This complexity does not, alas, make it into the final film.
According to historians, the real Bertie was nothing like the Minstrel Show white supremacist of Victoria & Abdul. Bertie was a charming and genial world traveler who made friends wherever he went. He was also a notorious womanizer. …
Bertie had reasons to resent and compete with Karim, reasons that have nothing to do with religion or color. Queen Victoria expressed hostility toward her own son. She kept him out of office. Until Prince Charles, that more recent royal disappointment, Bertie was the longest serving heir apparent. …
Historian and Bertie biographer Jane Ridley writes, “Relations with her eldest son Bertie … were especially fraught. From the start, he was a disappointment … His parents considered him a halfwit. Victoria remarked: ‘Handsome I cannot think him, with that painfully small and narrow head, those immense features and total want of chin.’ … She could not bear to have him near her. ‘I never can look at him without a shudder.’ … As Prince of Wales, Bertie lurched from one scandal to another. In spite of his repeated requests, Victoria never allowed him access to government documents.” Karim saw government documents daily.
hat-tip Stephen Neil