Everything I know about Scotland is from movies and from what I have seen they have been through a lot. From those times though have birthed great stories and figures who have lived long past their time on this earth. One such person is Mary Stuart and even though there have been stories told about her before, it is time for a new one to remind everyone just who she was. Besides a history lesson with a film like this you will also get some great performances and with Mary Queen of Scots, it does not disappoint.
Mary (Saoirse Ronan) has returned home to Scotland after some time in France where she married and became a widow. Now that she is back home she has assumed her place as Queen, but there are many who are not happy with that, including her half brother. While Scotland is sorting through their own things, England and Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie) are paying attention because if Mary were to have a child, that child could claim the throne of England. So wanting to control Mary, Elizabeth’s council suggests that they choose her suitor in order for them to have a say in things, but Mary is not having it and chooses someone that she can control instead. Things seem to work out, but forces conspire against Mary as the quest for power can blacken the hearts of many.
A movie like this tends to be a showcase for an actors ability, and this one is no exception. Robbie and Ronan are both fantastic, but it’s Ronan who really shines as Mary. Beau Willmon (House of Cards) who wrote the screenplay from a novel by John Guy focuses on the relevant times in Mary’s life which sharpens the point of the story. With that comes a precise feel to the film with you often wanting more that could have taken this film from really good to greatness. That is not said as a knock but more as a personal wish, because everything is so good I just wanted more of it. The film has a great build up to it and simmers to the point where it reaches boiling point with the meeting of Robbie and Ronan’s characters that is some of the best ten minutes you will see on screen all year. Mary Queen of Scots is a movie fit not only for a Queen but for anyone who enjoys watching a great film and actors performing at the top of their craft. All hail the Queens!