Born to the Duchess of Kent (Richardson), young Victoria (Blunt) finds herself the sole heir to the throne and under pressure from the Duchess' advisor Sir John Conroy (Mark Strong) to sign a regency order; Conroy is hungry for power and this order will allow him rule England through the Duchess who will be Queen in her daughter's place. Into this comes Prince Albert (Friend), a Belgian manipulated and schooled by Victoria's uncle, King Leopold, to woo Victoria and put his own family on the English throne. The last thing Albert was expecting was to fall in love with Victoria for real, but soon finds himself frozen out by Victoria's trusted advisor Lord Melbourne (Bettany). The intricacies of politics and love are to the fore of The Young Victoria; a drama inhabited by characters that all seem related to Machiavelli such is the scheming shenanigans going on here. The film really comes alive when it concentrates on the burgeoning love affair between Albert and Victoria - the love between them is sweet and, more importantly, believable with Blunt and Friend exhibiting some tasty but reserved charisma together. Director Vallee introduced us to his passion for detail in the '70s-based comedy drama C.R.A.Z.Y and he's at it again here: The Young Victoria is awash with intricacies, down to the low lighting of the evening and night scenes - it would be dark in those days with only candles to light those large rooms. Blunt, in her first major role, might be front and centre but she's matched by Bettany and a restrained Friend.