Saturday, August 6, 2022

Movie notes: Mary Queen of Scots (2018)

I was recently watching the movie “Mary Queen of Scots” from 2018.
A Scottish army of nameless, non-diverse extras

It turns out that Tudor England & Scotland were racially diverse at the highest echelons of power although not so much when it comes to the rank & file soldiers. Apparently, painters at the time did a really poor job of capturing how black or Chinese they really were.
After Mary Queen of Scots (the Irish Saoirse Ronan) catches her husband naked and in bed with her prancing male aide David Rizzio (I didn’t recall that from the old history books), the aide begs forgiveness and the very Catholic Mary tells him to stand and that “you have not betrayed your nature” and he resumes his duties. Surely all Catholics in the 1500s were as tolerant, even Spanish ones.

Don’t think that this is a woke version of history : later she demands and tries to force sex from her drunken husband who repeatedly says no and he makes excuses while she turns violent and attacks him.
Later, a Scottish preacher calls her ”Queen Strumpet” and a crowd chants “death to the Whooooeeeerre” in a surprisingly charming Scottish accent.  I may have unintentionally laughed out loud.

Another line I that seemed questionable was her asking a Scots soldier if he was Catholic, him responding no and her telling him they all go to the same heaven.  

Visually it looks good but the script seems taken from a fairly boring soap opera with historical figures given roles and an extra dose of melodrama as opposed to a script telling what we know (or don't know) about consequential figures of history.  

Despite the drama that should be inherent in the story it was boring. It ends with a boring dialogue between Mary & Elizabeth that the filmmakers admitted was pure imagination and ahistorical. 

I doubt someone without prior knowledge of Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth would come away with either a good understanding of the situation or a good understanding of history. 

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