‘Victoria and Abdul’ shows an unexpected friendship between a queen and a clerk

The pair learn from each other's differences through a series of adventures and grow stronger in the face of oppression in the late 19th century.


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Victoria and Abdul, directed by Stephen Frears, tells the true story of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and her unexpected friendship with Abdul Karim, a clerk from India.

In her old age, Victoria has found herself unhappy with life and overwhelmed with the loneliness that consumes her existence. All of this changes once she is introduced to Abdul, who reminds her that there is beauty and excitement in the world.

Despite the disapproval from her family and staff, Victoria makes Abdul her official teacher. They spend their days traveling, and he teaches her about the history of India and the language of Urdu.

The old woman who once hated every piece of her life grows to love each of her days as she uncovers new and interesting things about the world around her. Abdul also learns to be a patient man and gains a new loved one in Victoria.

This film beautifully demonstrates a story of tolerance in a time when acceptance wasn’t a widely practiced action. Victoria welcomes Abdul into her life even though many people were adamantly against it. No matter how many times she is deterred from engaging with someone so different from herself, she continually shows Abdul nothing but love.

Audiences also learn the importance of tolerance and patience. Abdul experiences many obstacles in his time spent with Victoria, and he still manages to handle every stumble with immense amounts of grace and kindness. Even when he has every right to leave, he stays. Abdul treats Victoria with respect, despite the fact that India was being ruled unfairly by Great Britain at the time.

Many important lessons can be taken away from this film. It is incredible that the two individuals portrayed in this film defy the social standards of the time period and become friends. They do not succumb to racial norms or class structure; they transcend them and let a beautiful friendship blossom.

Modern audiences can learn that, if these two people manage to become loving friends at this point in history, then it can surely be done today. They see that with understanding and a willingness to learn, even the most unlikely things can happen.

Victoria and Abdul is the perfect movie for anyone looking for a nice blend of history and heartwarming friendship.

Edited by Claire Colby | ccolby@themaneater.com

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