Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Queen Of Scots

In Theatres: 
Dec 14, 2018
Running Time: 
124 minutes

Josie Rourke has spent the majority of her career directing theatre so it’s not surprising that her feature film directorial debut would feel like a play on the big screen. In Mary Queen of Scots, A-list actors Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie star as Mary, the Queen of Scotland, and Elizabeth I, the Queen of England as they plot and ploy over the throne. While both give commanding performances, there’s surprisingly little fanfare when the two Hollywood powerhouses finally have their confrontation.


Mary Stuart (Ronan) was married at 16 and became the Queen of France, but when the king died two years later she decided to return home to Scotland and claim her rightful throne rather than remarry. Scotland falls under the reign of England’s Queen Elizabeth I (Robbie), who see’s Mary’s return as a threat to her power. Cousins by blood, the two Queens vie for what they each believe to be their birthright, each willing to do whatever it takes to gain the throne.


Mary Queen of Scots plays out a lot like an episode of Game of Thrones. There’s a lot of scheming, deception, and some absolutely brutal violence. Everyone is playing their cards close to their chest so you never quite get the full scope of their plans until it’s already in motion. Both Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie are great in their roles although the majority of their time is spent apart with Mary being in Scotland and Elizabeth in England. They do have one scene together towards the end when they finally meet, but it falls flat. The spark that was there between them throughout the whole film had dissipated by that point. Their confrontation just couldn’t match the buildup.


Despite the lackluster payoff, Mary Queen of Scots is worth watching for the performances of Ronan and Robbie alone. Ronan in particular is fantastic as she carries the weight of her country and her people on her shoulders. In an era where men are mostly seen as the ones in charge, it’s refreshing to see two women take the lead. Josie Rourke puts in a great effort for her directorial debut and knows how to take advantage of her leads’ talents, although she doesn’t quite push them to their full capabilities. Still, Mary Queen of Scots will satisfy any historical itch you might have.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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