[Screen It]


(1997) (Billy Connolly, Judi Dench) (PG)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Moderate Mild Mild Mild Minor
Mild None Minor None Mild
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Moderate Minor Moderate Mild Moderate

Drama: A Scottish servant is brought to the nineteenth century court of Queen Victoria in the hopes of bringing her out of her grief-based depression over her husband's death.
It's the mid-1800's and Queen Victoria (JUDI DENCH) has gone into a period of "ferocious introspection" and grief over the death of her husband, Prince Albert. The servants of the manor don't know what to do, and are under strict orders not to leave or to speak above a whisper. The head master, Henry Ponsonby (GEOFFREY PALMER), decides that some fresh air and exercise might do the queen some good. So he calls upon John Brown (BILLY CONNOLLY), a Scottish servant, to take Victoria horseback riding. Brown's an awkward fit, however, in that his straightforward approach conflicts with the strict rules of the manor. The fact that he was friends with Albert, however, allows him some leniency. Soon he's giving orders and not taking them, and when not doing so, visits with his brother, Archie (GERALD BUTLER), who's also a servant. Brown's attitude and behavior eventually wear off on the Queen, and she begins to break out her depression and then forges an unusual friendship with her subordinate. As their friendship grows stronger, though, many begin to complain about and ridicule the arrangement. Among those are Victoria's son, the Prince of Wales (DAVID WESTHEAD), the local press, and Prime Minister Disraeli (ANTONY SHER) who seeks to use the Queen's resurgence to his political advantage. Soon everyone refers to the Queen as Mrs. Brown, and John pushes himself to the limit trying to defend the Queen's life and reputation. As they deal with the growing unpopularity of John among the staff and public who wish for the Queen's return to public life, the two must figure out how to balance their friendship with their working relationship.
A period "costume" piece about the Queen of England will not be much of a draw to most children.
For a beating, language and brief nudity.
  • BILLY CONNOLLY plays the servant who doesn't cloak his true feelings and attitudes toward the Queen and thus breaks her out of her depression.
  • JUDI DENCH plays the Queen who seems cold and distant from her servants, but this is due to her grieving over her dead husband and the fact that she's the Queen who is expected to act that way (in the 1800's).


    OUR TAKE: 7.5 out of 10
    An enjoyable alternative to a summer filled with testosterone laced action films, "Mrs. Brown" is destined to be an art house hit, but will probably fail to draw huge numbers from the mainstream audience. That's too bad since this film contains several Oscar caliber performances and will probably be well represented at next February's nominations. Most surprising is Billy Connolly in the lead role. Best known for his stand up comedy and as the teacher on the TV series, "Head of the Class," he delivers an outstanding performance that will make you forget his earlier work. His take as the famous Scot is supposedly very accurate and his resemblance to that man is also reportedly stunning. That word can also be used to describe Judi Fench's performance which equally matches Connolly's and clearly shows her pedigree of being a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and a veteran of other art house films. Rounding out the tremendous cast is Antony Sher as Britain's prime minister. Don't be surprised if you hear his name listed among best supporting actors early next year. As far as the movie goes, it's quite enjoyable, although toward the later third it begins to drag a bit, making its 100 minute runtime seem a bit longer than it is. Of course some of that comes from the fact that the film has taken a more serious turn, and the earlier fun that permeated the production is missing. In fact, it's those early scenes that make "Mrs. Brown" so enjoyable. Watching Brown's straightforward approach ruffle the court's feathers is entertaining and it kick starts the Queen into recovery and into a friendship with Brown, both of which lighten the film's stifled feel. Many will probably skip this film due to it looking like a stuffy costume drama something akin to Masterpiece Theater, and in fact the BBC produced it. By foregoing this film, however, they'll be missing out on some of the better performances of the year, as well as one of the better films overall. We give "Mrs. Brown" a 7.5 out of 10.
    There isn't a great deal to object to in this film, although there is a surprising scene where we briefly see male frontal nudity as two men run to skinny dip in the ocean. While it doesn't last very long, it's surprising to see in a PG rated film. Beyond that, there's some drinking with a little drunkenness occurring, and one fight scene where Brown is beaten up and bloodied, but there's not much else that's very objectionable. While few children will want to see this film, we suggest that you read through the content should you wish to see the film yourself.

  • Wine is served with dinner for Victoria and others.
  • John and his brother drink whiskey, and John has more at dinner.
  • John drinks whiskey after a swim in the ocean.
  • People at a party drink wine.
  • John, Victoria, and another couple drink and John pours the Queen more whiskey. Later when they arrive back at the Court, the Queen's handlers are upset that she appears to be drunk.
  • After beating up John, two men pour liquor in his mouth to make it appear that he was drunkenly fighting, and later that's reported to be the truth.
  • John drinks from his flask and offers some to Disraeli, who turns down the offer, and John later appears to be somewhat drunk after this at dinner.
  • Champagne is served at dinner.
  • John's face is rather bloody after being beaten up by two men. Later, there are some bloody cuts on his face and he has a big bruise on his side.
  • Some may view John's straightforward attitude and behavior toward the Queen and her rules as disrespectful as he breaks their rules and traditions, but good does come of that (he gets the queen out of her depression).
  • John often calls the Queen "woman" (a disparaging term today and perhaps accepted then toward women, but certainly not to the Queen).
  • The servants, the press, and the politicians soon begin gossiping about the supposed relationship between the Queen and John.
  • John runs through the woods with a gun (at the beginning of the story and then seen again toward the end), after an unseen enemy, repeatedly spins around and fires his weapon.
  • Two men beat up John in the stables. They repeatedly punch him in the face, back, and then kick him on the ground. It's later reported that they broke three of his ribs.
  • John races at an assassin and knocks him to the ground.
  • Pistols: Used by Brown for defending the Queen, and an assassin has a fake pistol as he charges at the Queen.
  • Rifles: Used by Brown and others on a hunting expedition.
  • Phrases: "Balls" (testicles), "Are you deaf as well as stupid?" and "Idiot."
  • John and his brother briefly go skinny-dipping in the ocean.
  • None.
  • There are only a few scenes with very minor suspenseful music in them.
  • None.
  • 1 "s" word, 2 hells, 1 ass, 1 damn, and 2 uses of "For God's sakes," and 1 use each of "Oh God" and "Good Lord" as exclamations.
  • John and his brother go skinny-dipping in the ocean and thus run nude into the water. Their bare buttocks are seen as are quick glimpses of both men's penises (seen as the camera is beside the men).
  • Noting that the Queen's cheeks are flushed after returning from a trip with John, and stating that she couldn't possibly be drunk, a man then implies something else (a romantic encounter) and Henry says, "Don't even think it."
  • A man at a party smokes a cigar.
  • The Queen goes into a serious grieving period after the death of her husband (which happens before the beginning of the film), and then worries about her son who is ill with typhoid fever, the same malady that killed her husband.
  • Victoria must deal with her son who is against her growing fondness of John.
  • The historical accuracy of the film and the life of the queen and Britain's monarchy in general.
  • The full body bathing suits (worn by the queen and her ladies in waiting while swimming).
  • The public versus the private life of famous people (and the press discussing their lives).
  • A bust is thrown from the top of a building and shatters upon impact with the ground.
  • John kicks a reporter on the ground who was spying on the Queen's activities. Later, upset that a servant leaked the Queen's whereabouts to the press, John warns if he finds who did so, "I'll cut his balls off."
  • John pushes the Prince of Wales (the Queen's son) up against a wall when he insists on seeing his mother, but John doesn't want her disturbed.
  • Two men beat up John in the stables. They repeatedly punch him in the face, back, and then kick him on the ground. It's later reported that they broke three of his ribs.
  • John and others take Disraeli hunting and while many shots are fired at an animal, it is not seen being hit.
  • John races at an assassin and knocks him to the ground.

  • Reviewed July 15, 1997

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [1917] [Bombshell] [Cats] [Little Women] [Spies In Disguise] [Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker] [Uncut Gems]

    Privacy Statement and Terms of Use and Disclaimer
    By entering this site you acknowledge to having read and agreed to the above conditions.

    All Rights Reserved,
    ©1996-2020 Screen It, Inc.