"Mary Queen of Scots" explores the turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan). Queen of France at 16, widowed at 18, Mary defies pressure to remarry and instead returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne. By birth, she also has a rival claim to the throne of Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie), who rules as the Queen of England. Determined to rule as much more than a figurehead, Mary asserts her claim to the English throne, threatening Elizabeth's sovereignty. Rivals in power and in love, the two Queens make very different choices about marriage and children. Betrayal, rebellion and conspiracies within each court imperil both Queens - driving them apart, as each woman experiences the bitter cost of power.
This is one of those films which makes your heart sink in the first minute - you carry on watching in the hope it will get better but it just gets worse. It really doesn't know what it wants to be - costume drama, historical re-enactment or fantasy. It ends up just being a mess with absurd dialogue in absurd accents and with distracting and non-sensical 'colour blind' casting which just adds to the overall silliness. All in all, it has the feel of a production by a bunch of millennials who know nothing of history and are concerned simply with superficial amateur dramatics and imposing their PC gloss on 16th century Britain at the expense of any connection with reality. If you want to see how this sort of thing should really be done then watch Wolf Hall.
12 out of 12 members found this review helpful.
Did we Really Need this Film?
- Mary Queen of Scots review by AA
Another film on the life of Mary Queen of Scots, with no new insight as to what happened and the political posturing of the time, this film is a dreary piece of cinema that really ought not to have been made, apart from giving a large cast of actors technical crew work!
5 out of 6 members found this review helpful.
- Mary Queen of Scots review by Pete W
"Tudor feminism" is the title of one of the extras on this DVD and I think it tells you all you need to know about this film. Personally, I think both Elizabeth and Mary are stronger and more complex characters than they are allowed to be in this film. But the rivalry between them was many layered - the religious divide is glossed over, for example. In reality, the two main characters never met but a meeting has to be engineered for dramatic purposes (as it has been in other dramatic settings of the story). I'm not sure that if Elizabeth and Mary had met, the two would have been quite so understanding of each others position. At the end of the day, Mary tried to topple Elizabeth from her throne (or was trapped into expressing support for such a move) and paid the price.
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.
- Mary Queen of Scots review by cb
I'm in total agreement with the review by MC. Mary and Elizabeth never met . A totally inept attempt to rewrite history and mislead. Just plain silly!!!
I don't normally take to writing reviews, but this film infuriated me so much I actually stopped watching after an hour - I haven't done that in a long time. I very much respect genuine attempts at making important historical events & characters as accurate as possible and as they deserve; but this mess came across almost immediately as politically correct nonsense, including nicely current "west of Scotland" accents and dialogue; worse still, this presentation of contemporary "inclusiveness" was just factually wrong and completely out of place. It just comes across as another example of this dreadful practice of rewriting history's characters & events.
Avoid at all costs.
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.
Not as bad as some would make out
- Mary Queen of Scots review by MI
Knowing nothing about Mary I found this a very interesting film. She did not have an easy life, in fact some of it was so bad (not least having your head chopped off) that I had to do some internet research to check if it could be true (it was).
1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.
Great costumes and beards
- Mary Queen of Scots review by HE
You would need to know your history of the time and who all the main characters are. Impossible not to smile at the hair and beard worn by David Tennant as John Knox. I think the film attempted to give an idea of what it was like for both Queens, Mary and Elizabeth as monarchs and as women managing 16th century politics for very high stakes in a man's world of the time. I enjoyed it for what it was as I like historical drama but several scenes didn't quite come off, especially the fictional meeting between the two women, a very "Braveheart-like" distortion of the facts, but then I enjoyed Braveheart very much!
1 out of 5 members found this review helpful.
- Mary Queen of Scots review by SR
This film is utter claptrap. Many of the locations bear no resemblance to the places they are supposed to represent. "Carlisle" and "The Border" were especially hopeless. The 'plot' was awful and historically inaccurate. It might have survived historical inaccuracy if the plot had been interesting but it was just turgid. The PC elements were so jarringly out of place it was embarrassing. By far the worst film I have seen for some time. There are much better ways to spend 2 hours of your life, don't bother with this one.
I don’t understand why writer, director and actors would put so much effort into a historically inaccurate movie. Costumes and locations were interesting. For some reason Mary is depicted as having a Scottish accent though she had been educated in France. Sadly I think many will believe the historical drama. Waste of time.