Smartly scripted by Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park
), this historical romance chronicles the early reign of Queen Victoria, played with admirable intelligence and feeling by Emily Blunt. Like Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth
(1998), the movie is a crafty mix of love story and postfeminist parable, charting Victoria's blooming relationship with her first cousin, Albert (Rupert Friend), even as it considers the complex problems of a woman wielding power in a man's world. Fellowes labors to unite both elements at the very end, and his partly invented climax seems a shame given his otherwise careful elucidation of the political landscape Victoria was forced to negotiate. But this may be the perfect shared entertainment for daughters just growing out of their princess phase and mothers with their own challenges balancing love and work. Jean-Marc Vallee directed; among the crack supporting cast are Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent, and Mark Strong. PG, 100 min.