Mrs Brown (1997) Review

After Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert dies she finds herself turning to servant Mr. John Brown while hiding from the public in Balmoral. The relationship would bring a lot of scandal and be something the press want to know so much more about.


John Brown was a Scottish servant and had been very trusted by Queen Victoria’s deceased husband, which certainly helps her trust him as well. She had been in mourning since the death in 1861, now in 1863 they needed to do something to get her back into the public life after the years of seclusion. The plan to bring in Brown was put together by her household, but when it all works very well and she becomes to rely on Brown Sir Henry Ponsonby and The Prince of Wales come to resent it along with other members of the Royal Family.

He would do anything for his Queen and the special relationship between the pair is put across as a very amazing friendship within the film. Although having now read a little bit into the relationship it is expected that it was a sexual relationship, something the film doesn’t really address but I guess we could make our own mind up about that.

Overall though the story is not really that interesting and I found it quite a long slog to get through it all, something I wasn’t expecting as I absolutely adored Victoria & Abdul which is regarded as an unofficial sequel to this film. The saving grace of the film is the fantastic performance from Judi Dench, who really did deserve all of the plaudits for her role. Although I feel as though Billy Connolly should be talked about so much more for his incredible performance, seriously I was so impressed with the man who we all know more as a stand up comedian. I thought he was the perfect choice for John Brown and gave so much emotion, heart and soul into the character. He was easily the best thing about the film, absolutely outstanding from him! A nice little surprise was seeing a very young Gerard Butler appear in the film, I had no idea that he was in the film and have since found out that this was his theatrical film debut.

The film was originally intended to be shown on BBC One but when it was acquired by Miramax and gained a cinematic release becoming a rather worldwide success earning $9 million dollars. I guess that’s not bad for a film that was going to just be shown on UK TV! Something Judi Dench claims is that despite being 60 years old in this film, it really launched her film career. Bet she was more than pleased about the cinematic release considering she went on to receive an Oscar nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role, as well as winning a Golden Globe and BAFTA. I guess it’s no real surprise that this has faded away and I had never really known much about it before finding it on BBC iPlayer.

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