A romantic drama, this John Madden film looks at the relationship between Queen Victoria and John Brown, a commoner who, though a servant, becomes her closest friend and confidant. As such, he proves the catalyst to bring her back into public life and out of her private mourning for the late Prince Albert. But the closeness of their friendship sets tongues wagging about the impropriety of what appears to be an affair between queen and commoner (an issue the film never directly addresses). Mrs Brown
's charm lies in the flinty give-and-take between the wonderfully starchy Judi Dench as Victoria and the robust Scottish comedian Billy Connolly, here playing it straight as a strong-willed Scotsman who comes to enjoy the power he wields by virtue of having the queen's ear. Antony Sher is also striking as Prime Minister Disraeli, in a performance that all but shimmers with unspoken malice. --Marshall Fine
In mourning for her late husband Prince Albert, Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) has abandoned all public duties and appearances, retiring to her Isle of Wight home, Osborne House. When Albert's pony handler, John Brown (Billy Connolly), arrives in service to the Queen, he manages to coax her out of her depression. As the pair grow increasingly familiar, a warm friendship develops, much to the consternation of the other members of court.