Is there such thing as too much drama? In the movie, Mary, Queen of Scots, Director Josie Rourke manages to weave history with an entertaining, although not entirely accurate, storyline that will leave viewers on the edge of their seats in anticipation. Tempestuous marriages, rumored affairs, carefully thought out political letters and by-order assassinations, Mary, Queen of Scots is a movie to keep your eye out for.
The Queen of Scots is a dramatized biographical movie based on the well-known 19th-century relationship between the two queens Mary, Queen of Scotland and Elizabeth, Queen of England. The story begins in media res with Mary about to be executed. You don’t know her crimes or how she came to be in this position (unless of course you’re a history aficionado and know her story), but the rest of the movie builds up to the first scene, giving explanation and backstory as to why Mary was going to be beheaded. However, regardless of how well-versed one might be in the story about Mary, this movie gives new insight into her story and the reasoning behind her actions.
Mary (played by Saoirse Ronan-left) is Queen of Scotland by birth, Queen of France thanks to her late husband, and heir to England if the current Queen of England does not produce a child. The Scottish Queen is very aware of her status when she returns to her home, taking back her throne from her brother James. Windowed at 18, Mary refuses to find another husband and only would do it for political gain. In comes Elizabeth, Queen of England (played by Margo Robbie-right), who is to supply Mary with a possible suitor. With the help of a few love triangles and an untimely case of smallpox, the two queens are pitted against each other, despite them being the only two that could possibly understand each other’s position as a single female ruler in a masculine dominated world.
The Queen of Scotland is surrounded by untrustworthy allies, either from her brother James Murray (played by James McArdle) who worries she might bring the Pope into the country, to the protestant cleric John Knox (played by David Tennent) upset to see a female ruler. She must choose her allies carefully and even makes a few mistakes with her choice of husbands (because she does indeed marry again, twice in fact!). More drama ensues, within Mary’s home, court, and country, and the tenuous connections with England don’t help either.
The movie is full of cinematic parallels from mirroring shots, carrying the timeline and making the two-hour long movie flash by, to beautiful colors of the gowns and symbols they represent, to even the hair which resembles the crowns that sit upon the very Queens’ heads.
Despite the lack of screen time from Robbie, and the mistake of the accent from Ronan (in the movie it was plainly Scottish, but apparently was French in real life), the movie isn’t for the fainthearted but is sure one to watch when it comes out this December.