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Parents' Guide to

Viceroy's House

By Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Turbulent division of India seen by both Brits and Indians.

Movie NR 2017 106 minutes
Viceroy's House Poster Image

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This is a fairly standard historical drama with the twist of earnestly trying to explore the ambitions of both the rulers and the ruled. Viceroy's House is tripped up by clunky exposition as it tries to explain the social and political context of the time/situation. The romantic subplot, unfortunately, feels plastered on, rather than natural. And the storytelling relies on what might generously be called remarkable coincidences. But the three lead performances are solid. Anderson fares best, convincingly portraying empathy.

The "view from the crowd" can be attributed to veteran director Gurinder Chadha. Chadha is a British citizen of Indian descent who's best known for Bend It Like Beckham and other explorations of the lives of Indian and British-Indian women. A postscript reveals that Viceroy's House is personally significant to her -- but sadly, that passion doesn't translate to the screen. Politically, the film clearly leans against the creation of Pakistan and completely absolves Mountbatten (casting him as a practical humanist who was manipulated by Jinnah and Churchill), even though Partition led to the humanitarian disaster of millions of people being displaced and even nuclear-fueled tensions in the region today.

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