In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.
An Irish immigrant lands in 1950s Brooklyn, where she quickly falls into a romance with a local. When her past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.
This movie explores the turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan). Queen of France at sixteen and widowed at eighteen, Mary defies pressure to remarry. Instead, she returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne. But Scotland and England fall under the rule of the compelling Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie). Each young Queen beholds her "sister" in fear and fascination. Rivals in power and in love, and female regents in a masculine world, the two must decide how to play the game of marriage versus independence. Determined to rule as much more than a figurehead, Mary asserts her claim to the English throne, threatening Elizabeth's sovereignty. Betrayal, rebellion, and conspiracies within each court imperil both thrones - and change the course of history.Written by
Reading through most of the reviews here and other websites even before watching the movie, I was very curious as to why such an extreme of hate and love, mostly either with 1-2 stars or 9-10 stars, with very few in between. Having watched the entire movie twice... I come to my own conclusion with the following thoughts on the subject:
Most of the people who hate the movie have concentrated their complaints mainly on the inaccuracies of historical facts (i.e. the meeting between the queens, the diversity of race in the royal courts, the sexuality of the main and supporting characters). Most of the people who love the movie have concentrated their praises on the costumes, the photography, the scenery, and the acting talents.
For myself, I've found the balance of some sort... as I have gradually changed my views on Hollywood movies over the years. I used to expect and hold Hollywood to these same criteria of getting it right with the facts and the historical details when I was a young and idealistic movie-goer. I have since gave up that notion in order to really enjoy the movie for what it is... an entertainment. I know for a fact that very few (if not extremely few to none) Hollywood movies stick completely one hundred percent to facts and truth. Movies are entertainment products with artistic licenses endowed to directors and writers to make money/profit for the studios and funders. So, if viewers can retain that fact in mind before watching a movie... the non-judging of such criteria would give way to a much more pleasant experience as a piece of entertainment. And that is the purpose of a movie... entertainment. If we really want to know or learn the truth, we should venture into reading, researching, and analyzing other mediums instead of movies.
We all know that even documentaries and history books are always with biases and not-so-correct facts. Even historians recognize the basic fact: "the winners write history". Many historical figures are mythologized or rehabilitated over the years by historians themselves. Not to mention, who know the real stories behind every history tales that man ever recorded. No one was there to prove that so-called "historical facts" are actually fact at all. Historians best guesses through historical documents that survived through the decades and centuries, and who to say that these records are not biased by the very person who wrote down these documents. How about if the authorities at the time ordered them to be falsified or omitted? In this case, do we really know for sure that these two queens never met? Who's to say that the secret did stay as a secret and therefore no record of them meeting face to face. Heck, we don't even know the whole fact and truth behind the recent impeachment of Trump and what he did the last 3 years, let alone a historical fact in question with over four centuries ago.
So, why hold a movie to such historical facts when the movie opens with "based on a true story" or "based on a book"? The key word here is "based on" and not "told as facts". Movies are not documentaries. And in this case, the movie stated right at the start: "Based on a Book by...", and that book is with much controversial on it own. Even the author did admit that it was his own belief and speculation without any historical document to back up his claim of the famous meeting. On top of that, the director did say that is something she feels needed for the momentum of the storytelling within the scope of the movie. Then why do people go to see the movie with such facts and still complaining about the historical inaccuracies?
That said, I like this movie for the superb acting chops of all actors, especially the two protagonists Ronan and Robbie. They are very believable in their roles (if you can get over the fact that Ronan character is supposed to be with a French accent instead of Scottish - and I can easily forget that because I don't know Mary's real voice or it's in fact that she spoke with a French accent). The makeup transformation of Robbie after her suffering with chicken pox is amazingly well done. I also find the costumes are beautiful and amazingly authentic. The vast landscape scenery of Scotland coast and mountainous terrain are well captured and able to transport the audience back to the time period along with the other scenes of the castles their interiors did justice to such intriguing photography. The smart dialogues add to the experience of witnessing the two queens conversing on their contentious standing of power and wits. The storytelling unfold in an intriguing way to hold the audience attention with interest and fascination. The lighting and colors capture the mood at each moment just right without overly cinematic pretentious.
Overall, I would give the movie an 8/10. But the final grade of 7/10 with one point deducted for the untrue historical facts of the meeting and the racial diversity scenes can be applied if one is still with such complaints.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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