So I heard about this movie with two leading ladies, lots of political scheming, and confrontation that would entertain even the purest soul. What movie do I speak of? Why none other than the recent Mary Queen of Scots, starring the brilliant Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie.
This movie happens to be one of the best feminist masterpieces ever constructed. The eponymous Queen Mary may or may not be a familiar figure — I guess depending on how much you obsess over royal monarchical history. Regardless of your previous knowledge of this badass in history, Mary’s story is a work of art, inspiring any number of people who doubt themselves to stand tall in the face of hardship.
Mary starts the film as a widow from France looking to ask her cousin, Queen Elizabeth of England, to be the successor to Elizabeth’s crown. As in all political dramas, the two rulers don’t see eye-to-eye, looking to serve their people as power hungry soloists.
Ronan’s performance as Mary is stunning, literally. She glows in power, confidence, and stardom. It doesn’t matter when her brother tries to overthrow her, or when she has no other choice but to flee Scotland for safety — Mary’s strength is a constant. Ronan’s ability to stand poised in the face of aversion fuels my feminist heart.
But we can’t forget about Robbie’s performance as Elizabeth, oh no. As a foil to Ronan, Robbie performs unfortunate yet powerful Elizabeth beautifully. Mary’s ease in life is nothing compared to the pain, struggle, and paranoia that afflicts Elizabeth, thus creating much of the drama of the film. When you see Robbie with a pock-marked face, balding head, and pain-seared features, you’ll see just how poignant of a performance she can carry as the complex Queen Elizabeth.
I think what really makes this movie shine are the moments of camaraderie the two queens share during the course of the plot. It doesn’t happen often, considering they only meet together in one scene. Still, through the exchanging of letters, the two women want the same conclusion at the end of the day: a unification of their people.
Do their people want this? Of course not. Where would the conflict of the movie (or the struggle in history for that matter) be if the two queens agreed immediately, signed a treaty, and drank some wine on the shore of England? Yeah, that’s not exactly the juicy details royal fanatics want.
Instead, issues of Mary’s Catholicism in a changing realm of Protestantism cause further dilemma for the two queens. Under Mary’s rule, she wishes to bridge this separation and allow her subjects to worship either religion. Once again, this is where the modern feminist mind that I possess screams in joy.
As two strong women playing two remarkable queens in history, Mary Queen of Scots shines as a movie to beat just as 2019 is thrust upon us.
If you’re reading this, go to the theatre this instant—I’m giving you full permission to be hasty—and see Mary Queen of Scots. You’ll thank me later.
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