Mary Stuart, the only surviving legitimate child of King James V, became a reigning Queen who was so beautiful and so young, and yet also – so highly intellectual when she decided to become Mary Queen of Scots. She used her power, her strength, her dignity and tremendous pride when ruling Scotland from 1542 to 1567 – that is until her country and Queen Elizabeth 1st found a way to turn their backs on her.
Mary, Queen of Scots (Saoirse Ronan) is on mission to take on multiple challenges when deciding to return to her country to become Queen of Scotland and possibly rule England. Her biggest challenge is winning over her cousin, her rival, Queen Elizabeth 1st (Margot Robbie). Upon hearing the news of the return of Mary Stuart, Queen Elizabeth 1st places a huge wedge between England and Scotland and decides to pit herself against Mary, Queen of Scots. Queen Elizabeth’s feelings and insecurities feed into the countries’ complexed religious choices – Protestantism vs. Catholicism, and whether there should be an heir coming out of England. Queen Elizabeth finds a recipe for deceit and treachery – and Mary Queen of Scots fights hard against a plot of events that takes these two women on a path of deception and deadly chain of events.
Queen Mary decides to return to her kingdom at the age of 18 years old as a widow after her husband the King of France dies. Saoirse Ronan’s performance is dynamic and forceful when she takes the reins from her half-brother, James (James McArdle) to rule Scotland, her country. Queen Mary knowing that she has the rightful position to rule the Scottish throne pushes her court and advisors for equality and peace throughout the whole country. Written by Beau Willimon (“House of Cards”), it is an epic story told many times over, but this time it is with a fascinating twist which adds some welcoming embellishments. It’s a story of two powerful young Queens who fight to rule in the 16th century and very welcomed masculine world. Their lives are fueled and ruled with such quick-witted manipulative ambassadors who have their own agenda, and not to mention all the suitors, lovers, politicians and ministers who plot with their own plans.
These two Queens must remain individuals and survive in a fast paced “mans” world. Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth 1st push each other hard and manipulate the people who are serving them just to remain in power that has bestowed on them. However, their power and in their ruling positions of Scotland and England, they are often thwarted and have to watch their backs every minute of the day. This makes it most difficult to trust anyone and Mary’s misjudgment of her husband leads to a bad decision when she gives into her heart.
The Director, Josie Rourke brilliantly tells this story in a “what if they had really met and discussed their lives” rather than the stories that have been told in the past of two cruel women ruling for the first time. Tragically, the story toils with the idea with the notion, “Which Queen really did win”, but it has a nice twist and an unexpected emotion in the end.
Mary Queen of Scots moves your heart and tantalizes the intellect in a most schematic and unusual way. I found this story to be a compelling drama with a different perspective that had not been thought of in the past. The underhanded decision made by Queen Elizabeth turns Mary Queen of Scots into a martyr which continuously intrigues us to retell her story over and over again – surrounded by mystery. A question comes to mind – should she have not married her cousin, Lord Darnley (Jack Lowden) who had a few dark secrets of his own? Was that decision to marry him a key to her demise? This is a cinematic crafted drama which combines a tiny bit of mystery and a touch of a thriller. To heir – or not to heir? This seemed to be one of their many questions – a tempestuous thought and heard throughout this movie. History paints these two Queens as bitter rivals – but in this movie you get a sense that they could have possibly been “frenemies”.
Release Date: December 7, 2018
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Joe Alwyn, David Tennant, Guy Pierce, Jack Lowden, Angela Bain
Director: Josie Rourke
Writer: Beau Willimon
Genre: Drama, History
Run Time: 112 minutes
Studio: Focus Features
Keely Smith-Wallace| Writing Contributor
B.A | Communications | University of Pittsburgh
Keely Smith-Wallace loves to write, is an avid adventurer and adores compelling stories. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a Degree in Communications she landed a job with British Airways and traveled the world. People, places, movies, music, theatre and travel perpetuates her passion to seek out stimulating stories in the world of entertainment and interesting lifestyles. Look for her insightful reviews to find out what’s new, what’s hot and where you may like to trot – for an awesome experience! Instagram: @ScribeKeelySW| View My Blogs
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