A veteran high school teacher befriends a younger art teacher, who is having an affair with one of her 15-year-old students. However, her intentions with this new "friend" also go well beyond platonic friendship.
Two faiths, two empires, two rulers - colliding in 1588. Papist Spain wants to bring down the heretic Elizabeth. Philip is building an armada but needs a rationale to attack. With covert intrigue, Spain sets a trap for the Queen and her principal secretary, Walsingham, using as a pawn Elizabeth's cousin Mary Stuart, who's under house arrest in the North. The trap springs, and the armada sets sail, to rendezvous with French ground forces and to attack. During these months, the Virgin Queen falls in love with Walter Raleigh, keeping him close to court and away from the sea and America. Is treachery or heroism at his heart? Does loneliness await her passionate majesty? Written by
Though not acknowledged in the credits, the cathedral interiors shown just after the marriage of Sir Walter and Bess are in Wells Cathedral. The camera stops just short of the cathedral's famous "scissor arches." See more »
Dr. John Dee is shown advising Elizabeth shortly before the Armada invasion of 1588. Historically, Dee spent 1583-89 traveling in mainland Europe. See more »
Spain is the most powerful empire in the world. Philip of Spain, a devout Catholic, has plunged Europe into holy war. Only England stands against him, ruled by a Protestant Queen.
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Overall I enjoyed the movie. There have been too many recent films about the Tudors and Elizabeth in particular, but this film looks good and it keeps you entertained. It's set at the time of the Spanish Armada in 1588. Elizabeth is shown as tough, smart, and married to her country. She also suffers from bouts of insecurity and irrational jealousies. This film is more hagiographic and melodramatic than its predecessor.
The film tends to ignore the facts when they get in the way of the story. Elizabeth was 55 at the time of the Spanish Armada and she was never a looker. Blanchett's Queen is youngish and attractive. Blanchett's acting performance is powerful and impressive but also a bit stagy. The way the politics of the time are depicted is a bit too black and white. The Spanish look grim and are dressed in dark colors. They are portrayed as crazy, religious zealots. Spain had a right to be upset at English privateers / pirates who attacked their ships and stole their gold. Mary, Queen of Scots is shown as a dowdy, schemer who disliked Elizabeth. The reality was that Mary was a pretty bimbo who made bad choices when it came to men.
Parts of the film veer too much towards soap-opera. Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen)becomes a favorite, but when Bess Throckmorton, one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting and Raleigh get secretly married, Elizabeth becomes jealous and behaves badly. Later, Raleigh and Francis Drake are shown defeating the Spanish at sea. In reality Raleigh was looking after the coastal defenses in the South West of England and didn't marry Throckmorton until 1591. The real Raleigh was a brilliant man: soldier, explorer, writer, poet and courtier and probably deserves his own film. The film is good fun but it's simplistic, cartoon history.
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