While I was in Miami, FL during Christmas week, I went with my mom and my sister to see Mary Queen of Scots. It was playing at the Coral Gables Art Cinema, which is a one-screen theater (it feels more like a college lecture hall) directly across the street from two of my favorite places - Books & Books and the gift shop at the Coral Gables Museum.
Going in, I didn't know anything about the movie other than who the two lead actresses were. Saoirse Ronan plays Mary Stuart and Margot Robbie plays Elizabeth I.
I was fascinated by Margot Robbie taking this role.
She is one of the most beautiful people I have ever seen, yet in this part she was buried under pounds and pounds of clothes, and at one point contracts "the pox" which are basically boils on her face. Though I am sure she wants to be known for her acting chops, not just her looks, this was swinging very far to the other end of the pendulum.
The movie explores a time of extreme tension between the two kingdoms, when Mary returns to Scotland after her living in France with her first husband. Upon his death, she comes back home to Scotland, where her presence is seen as an immediate and intense threat to Elizabeth, who is ruling England.
Some of my favorite moments in the film are when the queens are reading letters aloud that they've received from one another. The letters are equal parts ass-kissing and ass-kicking.
While their power struggle is the main event, there are several moments throughout the two hours that are gruesomely violent. Scenes of battle, and one particularly graphic turn where a member of Mary's palace staff is accused of having an affair with her, and is brutally attacked and killed. I felt nauseous that entire time and had to cover my eyes.
There was one character whose voice sounded so familiar and I couldn't quite place it. The credits started rolling and my sister shouted, "I knew it!" I looked over at her waiting for more information. "The guy who played John Knox, the head of the Presbyterian Church, is David Tennant from Broadchurch!" All three of us flew through Broadchurch on Netflix and are huge fans.
Despite the stellar cast, the film was not nominated for any Golden Globe Awards. I'll be curious to see if the Academy Awards recognizes either lead actress. The Oscar nominations will be announced on Tuesday, January 22, 2019.
Tell me, did you see the movie? What did you think?