Mary Queen of Scots (2018)

Mary Queen of Scots
Director: Josie Rourke
Writer: Beau Willimon
Based on: John Guy‘s book Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Jack Lowden, Joe Alwyn, Simon Russell Beale, Guy Pearce, Adrian Lester, Gemma Chan, David Tennant, Martin Compston, Ismael Cruz Cordova, Brendan Coyle, Ian Hart, James McArdle
Seen on: 30.1.2019

Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) just returned to Scotland from France, making her even more of a threat to her cousin Queen Elizabeth I’s (Margot Robbie) reign. Protestant Elizabeth fears the younger, Catholic Mary, and hopes to strengthen her own hold on the crown by marrying Mary off to a Protestant Englishman. Politically, the right man for the job would be Robert Dudley (Joe Alwyn), but Elizabeth is hesitant because she is in love with Dudley herself. And Mary’s heart is also set on somebody else.

Mary Queen of Scot was so… long. I just couldn’t get excited about a film that drags and drags, despite some really excellent points it makes and despite wonderful performances. But dammit, it was boring.

The film poster showing Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) and Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie) both dressed in similar dresses in the exact same shade of gold.

I glanced at my watch after an hour of the film or so, and then I felt like crying because only an hour had passed and not the 3 hours that I had felt pass me by – and that meant I had another hour to sit through the film.

I thought that the film would be much more about both Mary and Elizabeth, but really, it was 2 hours of showing how limited Mary’s choices really were, despite her apparent claim to power, just because she was a woman. That part definitely leaves an impression, but it’s also pretty dreary and doesn’t help the already lengthy narration

Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie) accompanied by Robert Dudley (Joe Alwyn).

Add to that that the film manages to have some of the most famous women in history, played by the fantastic Ronan and Robbie, and the most interesting characters here are the men. Mary’s husband Henry Darnley (Jack Lowden) was probably the most intriguing of the bunch (though not so much that I feel the need to learn more about him after the film) and her brother James, Earl of Moray (James McArdle) was a constant highlight in the film. Mary also has an openly gay (and possibly trans) friend David Rizzio (Ismael Cruz Cordova) and I liked that he was included, since it shows that neither homosexuality nor being trans is a new invention, but from today’s perspective, it felt like the two were a little muddled up.

Overall, I just really didn’t warm to the film. I wanted to like it so much and I just couldn’t. It just never hit its stride.

Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) riding with a small group of men.

Summarizing: a wasted opportunity, mostly.

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