Review: Mary, Queen of Scots
I’ve always loved the Elizabethan period, so I knew I wanted to see this film. It stars Irish actress Saoirse Ronan as the Scottish queen and would-be contender for the throne of her cousin Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie). When I read that Brendan Coyle of Downton Abbey fame would play the Earl of Lennox, that was a definite draw as well.
Directed by Josie Rourke, the film opens with Mary returning to Scotland after the death of her first husband, the young king of France. Her half-brother, the Earl of Moray (James McArdle) is on the scene and there is talk of rebellion as noblemen compete for power and influence. The cast includes some ethnic diversity that brings extra richness to the story: Gemma Chan appears as Mary’s friend Bess Hardwick, and Adrian Lester plays Lord Randolph. A heavily bearded David Tennant portrays John Knox, a Protestant reformer who rails against Mary and female rulers in general.
The film has Mary and Elizabeth speaking face-to-face, which historians say they never did, but this is not the first movie to imagine such a meeting. The best part was that I expected Ronan’s Mary to be fearless and stoic, and she was.
Should you see it? Yes, I enjoyed it. -J.J.
Viewed at Landmark Plaza Frontenac Cinema