VICTORIA AND ABDUL (PG)
DAME JUDI QUEENS UP SPOTLESSLY AGAIN, UK, 122 MINUTES Dame Judi Dench is a marvel of precision acting, this much we already know. As Dench has played the famously long-serving, short-tempered British monarch Queen Victoria before, this lightweight period biopic set in the ruler’s twilight years should be a walk in the park. Nevertheless, Dench sets a cracking clip, forcing the rest of the movie to keep up with her impish, sly and open-hearted performance. This is the story of Queen Vic’s unusual relationship with Abdul Karim (played by Bollywood star Ali Fazal), a lowly clerk from India who rose through the ranks of the royal household to become her closest confidante and spiritual adviser. Dench and Fazal are a very endearing screen teaming, particularly when merrily drawing disapproving stares from the stuffiest shirts inside Buckingham Palace.