Anchored by two excellent central performances by Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, “Mary Queen of Scots” turns out to be a compelling drama which tells of the power struggle between young, widowed royal upstart Mary (Ronan) and her cousin, the ruling monarch of the day, Elizabeth (Robbie). When Mary returns from France to take rule as Queen of Scotland, her ambition to exercise her royal birthright and take over from Elizabeth immediately puts the two cousins at odds and a game of long distance cat and mouse begins.
It’s a funny thing to be watching this at this present time as there are lots of parallels that can be drawn with “Game of Thrones”. I’m not saying they are the exact same obviously (this has no dragons), but when you break the story, they’re not too dissimilar, we have two queens at odds over one throne, one of whom sees it as her entitlement, and the other has become so used to the power it holds that she’ll do anything to hold on to it. In addition, both are surrounded by courts of men who seem intent on making decisions for them, especially in Mary’s case, which can sometimes lead to fatal consequences.
While the film is light on action, it is heavy on plot and dialogue. Luckily, Ronan and Robbie are both well up to the challenge of delivering in terms of dialogue. Both play their parts with authority and show why they are both Oscar nominees in their own rights. The plot, while dense, is easy to follow as the two monarchs try to outwit one another through various means, not limited to Elizabeth trying to marry Mary off with a man of her choosing who she could control, as well as the English trying to take the Scottish throne by force.
“Mary Queen of Scots” is a brilliantly shot film too. The highlands of Scotland in parts echo the landscapes we saw in “Lord of the Rings” and the costuming and use of colour is incredibly striking and really helps the film stand out from a lot of other dull looking historical epics. Going into this, I didn’t know what to expect, and I was glad I didn’t know a huge amount about it before going in as I was surprised and shocked by some of the turns it took. It’s well worth your time, especially for the aforementioned performances of the two leading ladies.
These are the noble and learned words of our quill master Kevin Dillon, @kevinwritestuff.
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