I knew very little about the history of this time period in England and Scotland. I would have known Mary, Queen of Scots by name and that is about it. After watching this film, I am still not sure I know much about her. All I know is that Saoirse Ronan is quite an actor.
This pseudo-biopic (I believe much of the history is fudged) followed the temperamental reign of Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) over Scotland and the political drama that engulfed her, not only from Elizabeth of England, but her own court that surrounded Mary.
Watching this, I felt very badly for Mary and I wanted these traitorous men to pay. Sadly, justice was not coming for these scummy men and the end of the Queen of Scots turns out quite tragic.
Saoirse Ronan is amazing as the titular role. She brightens the screen every time she is there. Elizabeth is played by Margot Robbie to a lesser extent. Elizabeth was also a tragic figure in the world of British monarchs, but she feels very much less connected to the audience than Ronan does.
This is typically the opposite of what these two historical women are seen as. In fact, Mary, Queen of Scots is also referred to as “Bloody Mary” and there are no examples that would require that sort of nickname. It makes one wonder exactly how history is being told and from whose perspective they are recording it.
Casting aside the questions about the historical accuracy of the film (which honestly, is not that important of a detail), the film itself is fine, but it is considerably better because of the strong performance by Ronan. The males in the film are basically just there. Heck, I saw David Tennent’s name in the credits, but I never realized that he was in the film. That is how unnoticeable the males turn out to be.
The powerful women being harassed and manipulated by the men in their lives is a definite theme here and can be connected to the current world easily. It would have been interesting to see Mary, Queen of Scots with a little more backbone, able to take on these weasels, but I suppose it may be what happened.
The film did feel fairly long and I was not overly happy with the outcome. Again, I get it. It is what happened. Still, there is a great performance by Saoirse Ronan and a solid one form Margot Robbie.