Friday, 18 February 2011


UK Release: 23rd October 1998
Watched on: Sunday 13th February 2011
Rating: 15
Runtime: 2hrs 4mins
Tagline: Declared illegitimate aged 3. Tried for treason aged 21. Crowned Queen aged 25.

IMDb Plot Summary: This film details the ascension to the throne and the early reign of Queen Elizabeth the First, as played by Cate Blanchett. The main focus is the endless attempts by her council to marry her off, the Catholic hatred of her and her romance with Lord Robert Dudley.

My Review: My interest of this film peaked last week, as I am currently reading (among others) 'The Virgin's Lover' by Philippa Gregory which depicts almost exactly the same storyline, however I was quite disappointed in the film itself.

Elizabeth was nominated for 7 Oscars, including Best Picture, but only won best Makeup. I can now see why. 
Its starts off well enough with the burning of heretics and Elizabeth and Robert Dudley enjoying their time together before she becomes Queen, but the whole film seems to stumble along, without much explanation or depth. 
‘The Virgin’s Lover’ explores their relationship thoroughly and you completely understand why they are as they are. The film, however, offers no explanation why they are so besotted with each other - making the romance almost unbelievable. The plot seems to bounce around with no purpose and there’s far too much politics for my taste.

Another reason for my wanting to watch the film at this time was the number of actors involved which are now very much at the forefront of the public's interest. 
Including Geoffrey Rush, who won a best-supporting actor BAFTA for The King’s Speech on Sunday. And also Vincent Cassel, currently starring in Black Swan as Thomas Leroy, Portman’s artistic director. 
It was interesting to see their performances from so long ago and see how much they’ve progressed. 
Also from a personal note, Christopher Eccleston, who played the ninth Doctor, was brilliant to see playing the doomed Duke of Norfolk. The acting from all them, and of course the leads Cate Blanchett and Joseph Fiennes were competent, but don't give off enough warmth in the characters, leaving them unsympathetic.

Yes, the costumes, makeup and locations were good, but that didn’t make up for the fact that the plot just didn’t string together well and left for lukewarm viewing. It’s a shame as I had high hopes - I am a big fan of The Tudors and Shakespeare in Love and similar period pieces. Perhaps I love the book so much that the film was never going to match up. Either way, for me, Elizabeth wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

Score: 5/10

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