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Mary Queen of Scots (2018)

March 11, 2021 Logo Netflix Logo Tmdb Logo IMDb Logo Rotten Tomatoes Logo Metacritic Logo

Intrigue, conspiracies, murder and sibling rivalry – Mary Queen of Scots has it all. From the halls of the most famous palaces of The United Kingdom to the sweeping hills of the Scottish Highlands, this movie gives a breathtaking yet fictitious telling of one of the most well-known rivalries of the British monarchies.

Two women, in 1500s costumes, standing back to back
Image Courtesy of TMDb

In 1591, young Mary returns to Scotland following the death of her French husband, Francis II. She is young but confident as she returns to her homeland to reclaim her throne. Elizabeth, her cousin and sister-monarch to the south, is a little older, famously unmarried and childless. Elizabeth is also a Protestant where Mary is a Catholic. The levels of rivalry and discord ran deep and was fueled into a calculated frenzy by their respective courts.

Mary eventually marries and bears a son – an heir to both the throne of Scotland and England – which escalates the conflict between the two monarchs. This conflict ignites a spark of political manoeuvring that eventually consumes both women. Suspicion, guilt, manipulation and fear eat away at both women and erodes whatever trust there might have once been between them. Eventually the political games lead to the execution of one queen and the utter isolation of the other.

A queen, standing with her ladies in waiting
Image Courtesy of TMDb

Mary Queen of Scots was released in 2018 starring Saoirse Ronan as Mary and Margot Robbie and Elizabeth. The film was based on the book My Heart Is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots by John Guy.  While there was an outpouring of praise for both women’s performance, as well for the sets and costumes, the film received heavy criticism for the historical inaccuracies that include details to the relationship between the two queens.

Despite the criticism, the film went on to receive multiple nominations including wins for make-up, hair and score. These accolades are well deserved as the historical representation through costumes, make-up and hair are intricate and breath taking. As director, Josie Rouke’s debut film, she did a brilliant job pulling beauty and moments of connections from the page to the screen in a seemingly effortless way.

A woman, on horseback, surrounded by men, also on horseback
Image Courtesy of TMDb

In all, Mary Queen of Scots is a great watch for fans of historical dramas and period pieces. It delivers all that you would hope for from this genre and a little bit more.

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