Overall I enjoyed the movie. There have been too many recent films about the Tudors and Elizabeth in particular, but this film looks good and it keeps you entertained. It's set at the time of the Spanish Armada in 1588. Elizabeth is shown as tough, smart, and married to her country. She also suffers from bouts of insecurity and irrational jealousies. This film is more hagiographic and melodramatic than its predecessor.
The film tends to ignore the facts when they get in the way of the story. Elizabeth was 55 at the time of the Spanish Armada and she was never a looker. Blanchett's Queen is youngish and attractive. Blanchett's acting performance is powerful and impressive but also a bit stagy. The way the politics of the time are depicted is a bit too black and white. The Spanish look grim and are dressed in dark colors. They are portrayed as crazy, religious zealots. Spain had a right to be upset at English privateers / pirates who attacked their ships and stole their gold. Mary, Queen of Scots is shown as a dowdy, schemer who disliked Elizabeth. The reality was that Mary was a pretty bimbo who made bad choices when it came to men.
Parts of the film veer too much towards soap-opera. Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen)becomes a favorite, but when Bess Throckmorton, one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting and Raleigh get secretly married, Elizabeth becomes jealous and behaves badly. Later, Raleigh and Francis Drake are shown defeating the Spanish at sea. In reality Raleigh was looking after the coastal defenses in the South West of England and didn't marry Throckmorton until 1591. The real Raleigh was a brilliant man: soldier, explorer, writer, poet and courtier and probably deserves his own film. The film is good fun but it's simplistic, cartoon history.
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