Los Angeles Times

Movie review: Judi Dench rules (again) in the lopsided crowdpleaser 'Victoria & Abdul'

The English director Stephen Frears has an affinity for odd-couple comedies, particularly whenever Judi Dench gets involved. Their prior collaborations include "Mrs. Henderson Presents" (2005), in which Dench played a wealthy widow enjoying a thorny rapport with a theater manager (Bob Hoskins), and "Philomena" (2013), which cast her as a devout Irish Catholic woman searching for her long-lost son in the unlikely company of a cynical journalist (Steve Coogan).

That neither title bothers to acknowledge the male companion's name tells you something, however unwittingly, about how effortlessly Dench dominates the screen, to the point where her co-stars sometimes seem like talented afterthoughts. If nothing else, then, the title of "Victoria

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