I’ve always been a fan of period drama so when I heard that Margot Robbie and Saorise Ronan were staring in a film based on the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, it immediately piqued my interest. Directed by Josie Rourke, the film follows the life of Mary Stuart (Soarise Ronan) in her return to Scotland as she stakes her claim as the rightful heir to the throne of England. However, Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie) sits in power and shows no interest in relinquishing the throne to her cousin.
Following the death of her husband, Francis II, Mary returns to Scotland from France. Mary is immediately battling her own court as several parties seek to dethrone her and take power for themselves. A notable standout is John Knox, played by David Tennant, who merely wants to remove her because she is a woman with a crown.
Sensing the impending threat of a Catholic Monarch taking her rightful place on the English Throne from a Protestant Queen, Elizabeth sends the man she loves to propose a marriage to Mary. Whilst Mary initially denies the proposal, she discovers Elizabeth to be gravely ill and accepts on one condition that she is recognised as Heir Apparent and will succeed to the throne should Elizabeth pass. The conditions of the proposal throw both realms into political turmoil.
The whole film continues this narrative of each monarch seeking to succeed without the other getting what they want. Whilst Elizabeth and Mary duke it out, their own courts are also seeking to take over undermine their authority. Especially in Scotland and as men, most of them believe a woman isn’t suitable to rule, but they severely underestimate Mary’s resolve.
Margot Robbie and Saorise Ronan are both brilliant in this film. But for me Soarise just takes it to the next level. Her stern attitude and quick wit is highly entertaining. There are a few “oh no she didn’t” moments that I thoroughly enjoyed. And, as already mentioned, David Tennant as the mad preacher was a perfect casting choice. Costume design and makeup is also a standout in this film. The entire film transports you back to this era perfectly.
The only thing that people seem to have issue with in this film is that Mary and Elizabeth never historically met. It was never documented that they had a secret one on one encounter. Whilst this may be true, it certainly plays a very important part in this film in a scene that needs to be seen to be understood.
Mary, Queen of Scots is one of the best historical dramas I have seen in a long time. For the most part, the film is historically accurate and that makes it all that much more enjoyable. It also made me frustrated but not surprised how well Mary Queen of Scots portrayed the men feeling intimidated and emasculated by two headstrong women in power. Mary Queen of Scots is out in cinemas now and I highly recommend that you head out and see it.