“Victoria and Abdul” (Focus)

Judi Dench and Ali Fazal star in a scene from the movie "Victoria and Abdul." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. (CNS/Focus Features)

By Catholic News Service

Endearing historical drama in which, on the sole basis of being tall and handsome, a 24-year-old prison clerk (Ali Fazal) in Agra, India, is chosen to present a ceremonial coin to Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) during her 1887 golden jubilee. After a four-month journey in the company of a grouchy fellow countryman (Adeel Akhtar), he flouts protocol by making eye contact with the sovereign. Victoria is sufficiently charmed to make him first her servant, then her secretary and finally her instructor in Urdu. But the closer their relationship grows, the more antagonism the royal household, led by the queen’s eldest son and heir, Bertie (Eddie Izzard), unleashes on the newcomer.

Director Stephen Frears’ adaptation of Shrabani Basu’s book celebrates friendship, openness, tolerance and respect for those from different backgrounds.

Possibly acceptable for older adolescents. A couple of uses of profanity, at least one milder oath, about a half-dozen crude and a pair of crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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