“I will have one mistress here, and no master”
‘Elizabeth’ starts out with the aging Catholic rulers reaching the end of their term. In fear of losing the throne to the Protestants, Queen Marry has devised a plot to falsely convict her half-sister Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, of national treachery – with the intention of condemning her to death. However, this goes without success, for young Elizabeth still ultimately becomes Queen of England.
Winner of the Golden Globe Award, ‘Elizabeth’ has truly lived up to its well-earned title. The movie sets in the Renaissance of England, depicting the inchoate stage of Queen Elizabeth’s reign and her struggle to rule the country – in which the recent demise of the former King and Queen has stirred undesired turbulence. Tainted bloodshed and gruesome tortures outpour from religious riots, treacheries and devious schemes to throw Elizabeth off the throne. The new Queen is advised and coerced to marry foreign kings in order to form allegiance for the nation and secure her royal position, which ultimately means that she’d have to give up her innocent love for Sir Robert Dudley, the First Earl of Leicester. The Queen ends up giving up her heart solely to England, and stays a virgin henceforth, bringing England to its Golden Age.
‘Elizabeth’ is rich in historical context; the utilization of various languages, costumes, customs, stage equipment, music, sceneries etc. all seem to match the era quite flawlessly. There is apparently no a blatant anachronism (though not that I strained to spot any). Overall, the movie offers a great getaway from the modern world; it’s perfect for anyone who’s looking to spice up their English history or literature lessons. There’s a light touch of romance as well, which really balances out the depressing bits.
As for the characters, I’d say they are well chosen for their roles – physically and emotionally. The acting is subtle and sophisticated. The presence of Christopher Eccleston was quite a pleasant surprise for me (excuse this Doctor Who fan). The same goes for Joseph Fiennes (I happened to watch Shakespeare in Love before Elizabeth). Cate Blanchard – starring Queen Elizabeth herself – is simply gorgeous. She carries herself very nicely through her mental and physical transformation from an innocent, youthful lady to a well-mannered Queen.
There are moments of suspense, but these probably would not be enough to satisfy thrill-seekers. Also, there might be some gruesome sights in the torture scenes (like bloody torn scalp, throat slash, incineration, decapitation, etc) that might not be that easy on the eye for the faint of heart.
Overall rating: 8/10