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Victoria & Abdul Review

Good

Essentially a sequel to the 1997 hit Mrs Brown, this film returns Judi Dench to play Queen Victoria in another relationship that shook up the royal household. It's such a perfect role for Dench that it's impossible to imagine anyone else playing her, and this film traces Victoria's final 15 years with plenty of lively humour and some pointed drama. The story is a bit thin, and some elements are difficult to believe, but it's thoroughly engaging.

The story opens in 1887, as Abdul (Ali Fazal) is selected to travel from India to London with Mohammed (Adeel Akhtar) to present Queen Victoria (Dench) with special honour. In London, Abdul and Mohammed are called "the Hindus" even though they're Muslims, and told to stay out of sight with the servants. But Abdul catches the Queen's eye, and she brings him into her household as a personal tutor in Urdu and Islam. Her staff (headed by Tim Pigott-Smith) doesn't like this at all, and conspires with both the heir to the throne (Eddie Izzard) and the prime minister (Michael Gambon) to undermine Abdul's influence. But Victoria isn't having any of it, demanding that they respect him.

This is a story that was hidden for more than a century, because after Victoria's death all references to Abdul were erased from the official history. It was only the discovery of Abdul's journals that revealed the truth, and screenwriter Lee Hall (Billy Elliot) has clearly taken some artistic licence as he crafted the facts into an entertaining narrative that's packed with hilarious touches. Meanwhile, Stephen Frears (The Queen) directs in jaunty Downton Abbey style, never quite taking anything seriously.

Continue reading: Victoria & Abdul Review

Lee Hall, Stephen Daldry and Palace Theatre - Lee Hall, Stephen Daldry Wednesday 30th May 2012 'Billy Elliot The Musical' celebrates their 7th anniversary and their 3000 performance at the West End, Victoria Palace Theatre

Lee Hall, Stephen Daldry and Palace Theatre

Lee Hall Sunday 8th January 2012 War Horse UK premiere - Arrivals London, England

Lee Hall
Lee Hall and Odeon Leicester Square
Lee Hall and Odeon Leicester Square

War Horse Review


Very Good
Spielberg takes the hit stage play (based on the Michael Morpugo novel) to the big screen with guns blazing, not only recapturing the heart-stopping urgency of war, but also cranking up the emotion exponentially.

In early 1900s Devon, teenager Albert (Irvine) lives on a farm with his impulsive-drunk father Ted (Mullan) and his tough-minded mum Rose (Watson).

When Ted overpays for the wrong horse to work the fields, Albert adopts the horse, names him Joey and teaches him the ropes. But when war breaks out in Europe, Ted sells Joey to a cavalry captain (Hiddleston). At war, Joey changes hands between British and German officers, a young soldier (Kross) and a French farmer (Arestrup). Meanwhile, Albert joins the army, heading into the trenches to search for Joey.

Continue reading: War Horse Review

Lee Hall Thursday 30th September 2010 The opening night of the Broadway production of 'The Pitmen Painters' at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre - Arrivals New York City, USA

Lee Hall
Lee Hall
Lee Hall
Lee Hall
Lee Hall
Lee Hall

Lee Hall - Phillippa Wilson, Lisa McGrillis and Lee Hall New York City, USA - The opening night of the Broadway production of 'The Pitmen Painters' - After Party Thursday 30th September 2010

Lee Hall
Lee Hall

Lee Hall and Billy Elliot - Lee Hall and family Thursday 13th November 2008 at Imperial Theatre New York City, USA

Lee Hall and Billy Elliot
Lee Hall and Billy Elliot
Lee Hall and Billy Elliot

Billy Elliot Review


Excellent
"Just because I like ballet, it doesn't mean I'm a poof," says 11-year-old British mamma's boy Billy Elliot (Jamie Bell). And that just about sums up the story of this oddball child prodigy. After all, when a lad from a northern British mining town forsakes his granddad's boxing gloves for a pair of satiny ballet slippers, it's more than the neighbors and townsfolk can comprehend and, therefore, inherently good cinematic drama.

Beyond the fact that the whole coal-miner's-kid-has-talent-and-big-dreams genre has been horrifically overdone from the earliest days of English-language narrative, Billy Elliot (aka Dancer) is actually a treat to watch. Maybe it's just the funny accents, but the dialog comes off fresh and surprising, even when it's just Billy's dad (played by Gary Lewis) saying some stock like, "No son of mine is going to be dancing ballet." In fact, Lewis conveys an intense fury through his role as the apparently ignorant father, while maintaining a sense of depth and dimension that is, at times, endearing.

Continue reading: Billy Elliot Review

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Lee Hall Movies

Victoria & Abdul Movie Review

Victoria & Abdul Movie Review

Essentially a sequel to the 1997 hit Mrs Brown, this film returns Judi Dench to...

War Horse Movie Review

War Horse Movie Review

Spielberg takes the hit stage play (based on the Michael Morpugo novel) to the big...

Billy Elliot Movie Review

Billy Elliot Movie Review

"Just because I like ballet, it doesn't mean I'm a poof," says 11-year-old British mamma's...

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