Plot: 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.
Teenaged peasant Joan of Arc (Gemma Arterton) knows that she has a mission to fulfill – voices tell her that she is the one to end the siege of Orléans and to crown the Dauphin (Fisayo Akinade) as King. All she needs is a few men from Robert de Baudricort (Matt Bardock). Baudricort doesn’t really believe her but his Steward (Rory Keenan) does. And faced with Joan’s conviction, Baudricort allows himself to be convinced. So Joan rides off to make her destiny. But not all are taken with Joan’s mission, despite – or maybe because – her success.
Saint Joan is an interesting production in its mixing of period elements with contemporary ones. I also liked this take on Joan, with Arterton shining as always. Nevertheless it falls a little shy of a really great production.
Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Director: Josie Rourke
Writer: Christopher Hampton
Based on: Pierre Choderlos de Laclos‘ epistolary novel
Cast: Dominic West, Janet McTeer, Elaine Cassidy, Morfydd Clark, Una Stubbs, Adjoah Ando, Edward Holcroft, Jennifer Saayeng
Seen on: 28.1.2016
[Prepare to get a whole lot of Liaisons things in the next few days.]
The Victome de Valmont (Dominic West) and the Marquise de Merteuil (Janet McTeer) are thick as thieves, united in their love to manipulate and destroy the people around them, a skill they have so artfully mastered that their ploys don’t fall back on them. Both have a new project: Valmont is trying to seduce Madame de Tourvel (Elaine Cassidy) who is staying at his aunt’s (Una Stubbs) summer home and who is widely known for her morals and her loyalty to her husband. The Marquise, on the other hand, is looking for revenge on an ex-lover who just got engaged to the naive Cécile (Morfydd Clark) who has spent pracitcally her entire life in a convent. So she enlists Valmont’s help to completely corrupt Cécile.
Les Liaisons Dangereuses is an almost perfect production of an almost perfect adaptation of one of my favorite novels. I absolutely loved it.
Caius Martius (Tom Hiddleston) is a celebrated general, even though he is not particularly popular with the people of Rome who are starving because the rations go to the military instead of them. Caius Martius fights his blood-enemy Aufidius (Hadley Fraser) in Corioles and is victorious, which gives him enough leverage to run for consul. Even though Caius Martius isn’t completely sold on the idea, his mother (Deborah Findlay) pressures him and he finally caves. But not everyone is a fan of Caius Martius and he quickly finds himself in trouble.
This is a great Coriolanus version. An excellent cast in an interesting set that makes the play shine. Not everything worked for me but it was always interesting to watch.