Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Queen Elizabeth I in 1588 (Armada Portrait)

Queen Mary Stuart of Scotland (1542 - 1587)

Movie Review

This sequel "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" to "Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen", released in 2007, was not as historically accurate compared to its predecessor. "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" created by Director Shekhar Kapur (who obviously knew nothing about Scottish History for the 16th Century) was a very disappointing piece for me. I was expecting the caliber of "Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen", instead found myself viewing a movie unconcerned with historic facts; much fictional license taken.

The movie begins in 1585 a.d. It is 1 hour and 55 minutes in length and covers 3 years of a turbulent section of Queen Elizabeth I's reign; including the defeat of the Spanish Armada. "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" is primarily about Queen Mary Stuart of Scotland's (played by Samantha Morton) incarceration in Fotheringhay Castle; depicting her slipping notes in laundry that are sent to Catholic sympathizers in England, who are conspiring against Queen Elizabeth I (again portrayed by Cate Blanchett). The film goes back and forth, showing scenes of Mary incarcerated in Fotheringhay Castle, then flipping back to Elizabeth scenes that depict simultaneous occurrences in London. I found this method of the scenes switching back and forth between the two queens a little confusing; difficult to follow the two main plots.

The parts that glared out the most as historically inaccurate to me, were those of Queen Mary Stuart of Scotland (aka Mary Queen of Scots). Samantha Morton is obviously not 5 feet 11 inches in height (Queen Mary was). Samantha Morton was shorter than some of her Lady's in Waiting (Queen Mary was not). Furthermore, Samantha Morton portrayed Queen Mary with an English accent (not even Scottish one) which was not true. Queen Mary Stuart of Scotland spoke in a French accent. She was primarily raised in France (age 5 in 1548 through age 18 in 1561). That is 13 years in France! No one spends that many years in France and returns without a French accent. There are historical accounts by Scottish Historians that mention the Scottish people noticed her French accent. The Scottish found her difficult to understand when she spoke their language. Even her enemies pointed out her French accent (this is in Scottish history books). The director and script writer should have known this historical fact if they had researched Mary Stuart. This movie neglected to show the truth about Queen Mary. To show Queen Mary historically standing her ground, never admitting to conspiring against Queen Elizabeth. Historically Queen Mary called the notes Sir Francis Walsingham displayed as evidence forgeries. She demanded to see these notes, but permission was never granted. Queen Mary continually swore her cousin Elizabeth was in no danger from her. Queen Mary (in-spite of her French accent) spoke fluently, and eloquently; never searching for words. Why was this left out? As someone who has studied Mary Stuart's history, "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" was a grave disappointment.

I do not blame Samantha Morton who played Queen Mary Stuart of Scotland for her representation. Actors follow direction and script. The director and the scriptwriter are at fault; should have researched the 16th Century's history more.

If you can over look this movie's historical inconsistencies, then you might enjoy it. History buffs, avoid this film. Other movies portray both of these two Queens better.

In order of appearance, other primary cast members included: Jordi Morla(King Phillip II of Spain, Elizabeth's ex-brother in-law, who used Queen Mary Stuart's death as a reason to send the Spanish Armada to England), Laurence Fox (Sir Christopher), John Shrapnel (Lord Howard), Geoffrey Rush (returned as Sir Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth's advisor and protector), Abbie Cornish (Elizabeth "Bess" Throckmorton, Sir Walter Raleigh's lover and who later became his wife), Clive Owen (expertly played Sir Walter Raleigh), and David Robb (as Admiral-Sir William Winter).

"Elizabeth: The Golden Age" is on DVD, rated PG-13 for adult material. Not recommended for minors. Do not recommend, because of historical inaccuracies. Special effects were excellent.

For more information about Queen Mary Stuart of Scotland: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_I_of_Scotland

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secondreview 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

I certainly rushed out to see this movie the first day. Elizabeth 1 is one of my most favourite topics.

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