Let me begin by saying I’ve studied this beguiling queen for decades. I once spent a day at Holyrood Palace walking in the gardens where Mary once walked. I climbed the stone staircase Darnley and his henchmen rushed up to murder David Rizzio, and saw the chamber where Mary was entertaining her four Marys, and Rizzio — the place where the murderers dragged him from the room and stabbed him 56 times, ending his life.
One of my biggest gripes is when Hollywood takes a perfectly good piece of history and turns it into something barely recognizable. This didn’t happen with Mary Queen of Scots. There were a few minor inconsistencies, but for the most part the movie did follow John Guy’s book, Queen of Scots, except for the fact that Mary and Elizabeth never met face to face.
Giving Mary and Elizabeth a vis-à-vis scene may not be historically accurate but has been hypothesized to such an extent that it would a shame not to include it in a cinematic recreation . Beau Willimon did a fine job of approaching this movie with the attitude of ‘what if’. What if the two queens had met face to face, who would be the dominant figure? You can read 50 different books on the subject. Some lean toward Elizabeth and others Mary. (My money would be on Mary.)
The costumes, makeup, and hair were outstanding. The costumes were appropriate for the period, and I found it interesting that the Scottish court was dressed in more muted colors, reflective of their environment, but the English court dressed in more brilliant colors, reflective of the English gardens. The hair styles seemed to take on a life of their own, getting bigger and more outlandish as the movie progressed. I’d like to know how much of the budget went to hairspray.
The real heroes in the making of this movie are the cinematographers. This department went the extra mile to give us the most beautiful views of Scotland, which basically is anywhere you look. My son, AKA, RunPee Dan, my daughter in law, and I spent a great deal of time traveling through Scotland. On our visit to the Isle of Skye, we stayed at the Skye Walker Hostel, where one evening I actually watched a towel being slowly pushed off the shelf and onto the floor. Honestly, I did. In a conversation with the owner, I mentioned this event and he, so very casually, told me, “Happens all the time.”
I noticed that much of the film was shot in the Highlands, near the historic village of Glenco, where we spent a week trying to take in all the magnificent beauty. So thank you, cinematographers, for adding so much to the movie. <3
I want to give high praise to Saoirse Ronan for her interpretation of how the historic Mary conducted her life. Saoirse captured the essence of the queen flawlessly, and brought her to life. I’m pretty sure if Mary Queen of Scots were to see this movie, she’d be pleased. Likewise, Margot Robbie made a wonderful Queen Elizabeth, complete with small pox scars and thinning hair.
However, I honestly didn’t feel the male actors invested much of their talents in the movie, which went against the grain of how the men in both courts were misogynistic bullies. That misogyny was central to the story; not only were the two queens vying for control of of England and Scotland, they had to also do battle with the men of both courts.
I do recommend this movie even if you have only a passing knowledge of the subject — or if you just want to enjoy the scenery, you’ll be in for a good ride.
About The Peetimes: This is RunPee Mom doing the Peetimes for this movie. Yes, I was near death’s door yesterday, however, I’ve been waiting for this movie for so long that I was able to pull myself out of bed, search for my cleanest dirty clothes, stuff my pockets full of tissues, call Uber, and off to the movies I went. I have 3 good Peetimes, evenly spaced apart, so I didn’t think I needed an emergency break. In the last 20 minutes of the movie, we’re moving quickly toward Mary’s execution, and also, the last 20 minutes includes the meeting between Mary and Elizabeth that can’t be missed.
There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Mary Queen of Scots. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)
RunPee Mom is our emotional bedrock. Without her, RunPee never would have lasted a decade as an app (which is since the dawn of time in internet years). She’s our biggest cheerleader and an unending source of unconditional love. She works cheerfully and tirelessly, seeing any movie we ask of her, writing interesting reviews, and being our…well…MOM. Her genres of choice: kiddie flicks, animated movies, emotional dramas, historical features, war films, diverse biographies, and even dense, diabolically plotted thrillers. She knows more about famous and infamous figures in history than said figures probably knew about themselves. She’s the Quiz Manager for the RunPee.com blog, and our resident movie celebrity/trivia expert. If you’ve taken a RunPee Quiz, you’ve most likely been given a virtual hug by RunPee Mom.