Judi Dench and Ali Fazal in a scene from "Victoria & Abdul."
Photo courtesy of Focus Features
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NEW YORK: Stop us if this sounds familiar: A tall, dark, bearded servant of rough breeding comes from far away to suddenly charm a grumpy, widowed Queen Victoria and thus upend Britain's royal court at the turn of the 20th century.A new movie has come along exactly 20 years later with an eerily similar plot.Substitute Connolly with Ali Fazal and you get "Victoria & Abdul," a film about the then-most powerful woman on earth's second unusually intimate relationship with a commoner, in this case an Indian Muslim in 1887 .Fascinatingly, Dench is back as the monarch, two decades after she played Victoria and earned an Oscar nomination for it. He is called "the brown John Brown" and offers no riposte. The title of the film promises us two people but we only get one.It's hard to leave this film and not think that Spike Lee's concept of "magical Negroes" needs to be expanded for other people of color.
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