Mary returns from France after the death of her husband the young French king, and takes up the throne of Scotland. She is a Catholic and therefore disliked by the Scottish protestants. Back in England Henry Cecil, Queen Elizabeth’s advisor, forments revolt forcing Mary to take up arms against her half brother. She wins, and subsequently marries the Catholic Lord Darnley who, as it turns out, prefers men to women, but impregnates her. But producing an heir to the throne of Scotland does not save her from her eventual fate.
It is not a spoiler to say that the film starts with Mary on her way to be beheaded, and what follows is a view on how she got to this point. We flash back and forth between the courts of Elizabeth and Mary where, in the former there is a lot of whispering, and in the latter a lot of shouting. There are battles in Scotland and in both courts some romantic intrigue with, in Mary’s case, some sex, oddly presented as the film attempts to support Darnley’s sexual preferences. In neither court any nudity, but in Scotland some explosions, fires and stabbings.
It seems that the script plays fast and loose with the known facts. On top of that I was often confused as to which court we were in, as we were flashed between one and the other and everyone, including most of the ladies in waiting, were dressed in black. The Scottish courtiers seemed to be more hairy (not the ladies in waiting), but other than that they looked the same. I was left wondering how anyone could make such a mash-up of what was actually a really dramatic period of British history. Having Saoirse Ronan looking soulfully into the middle distance was just not enough.
|Duration||2h 4m||Rating (UK)||15|
|Source of story||Real events and a book “Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart” by John Guy.|
|Starring||Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Simon Russell Beale, Martin Compson, James McArdle, Adrian Lester, Guy Pearce, Joe Alwyn, Gemma Chan, Ian Hart, David Tennant|
|Additional Info||The film features a meeting between the queens which is considered by historians never to have taken place.|