User Reviews (442)

Add a Review

  • If you want to watch a brilliantly acted and truthful adaption of this piece of history then look no further than the BBCs early 70s series Elizabeth R staring Glenda Jackson. I would thoroughly recommend it for younger history buffs and those who like their history factually correct. This film is an insult to British history.
  • Historic authenticity is cast to the wind in this revisionist costume drama that feels like it was written by a freshman Women's Studies major. Directed by Josie Rourke with a screenplay by Beau Willimon, Mary Queen of Scots (2018) was based on the book Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy. Like many films released this year, it has strong female leads, a diverse cast, and progressive social messaging, but checking all the right boxes on the SJW playlist wasn't enough to save this film from mediocrity.

    The year is 1560, and the young and beautiful Mary Tudor (Saoirse Ronan) returns home, where she is out of place in a dreary Scottish castle. Her half-brother, James, Earl of Moray (James McArdle), has been ruling as regent, alongside a bevy of colorless and perpetually-angry Protestant men. Her appearance in Scotland alarms her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England (Margot Robbie). Elizabeth, a Protestant, is not seen as a legitimate ruler by her Catholic subjects. She seeks to gain influence over Mary by arranging a marriage with Elizabeth's own lover, Robert Dudley (Joe Alwyn).

    Instead, Mary marries the charming and charismatic Lord Henry Darnley (Jack Lowden), who pulls a Jeckyll-and-Hyde routine and becomes a drunken lecher on their wedding night. Things get complicated for the childless Queen Elizabeth when Mary becomes pregnant, producing an heir for her dynasty and strengthening her claim to the English throne. Can Mary fend off attacks from her domestic critics and convince Elizabeth to acknowledge her as England's rightful ruler?

    Mary Queen of Scots couldn't decide whether it wanted to be a film about the rivalry between two queens or a revisionist biopic of its titular character, so it does neither particularly well. This ill-conceived and poorly executed film also missed a chance to let its leading ladies shine. As Queen Elizabeth, the talented Margot Robbie goes to waste as a costumed mannequin who practically disappears for the middle third of the film.

    Historically, Mary Stuart was born in 1542, the only legitimate heir to Scottish King James V. She was briefly married to the King of France. After his untimely death in 1560, Mary returned to Scotland and ruled as Mary I of Scotland until 1567, when she was forced to abdicate after her second husband's murder (which her rivals accused her of orchestrating). She fled to England to seek protection from her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, but many English Catholics considered Mary the legitimate Queen of England, so Elizabeth had her imprisoned and later executed.

    There are many anachronisms and inaccuracies throughout Mary Queen of Scots, not the least of which was "colorblind casting" that falsely portrays 16th-Century England and Scotland's aristocracy as racially diverse. Mary's Scottish accent was also out of place (she grew up in France), as was her friendship with Italian courtier David Rizzio/Riccio. Most historians acknowledge Mary was probably having an affair with the man, which infuriated her Second Husband. Rizzio might have been bisexual, but he wasn't "one of the girls," as the film portrays.

    Though ostensibly based on a book, this film can be considered a remake of the 1971 film by the same name. Mary, Queen of Scots (1971) was directed by Charles Jarrott and starred Vanessa Redgrave and Glenda Jackson. Like the 2018 film, the 1971 version featured a fictional meeting between the two queens and speculated that Lord Darnley and the musician David Riccio were lovers. The two films part ways, however, when it came to Mary's imprisonment. The 1971 version devotes more screen time to her 19 years in English captivity, while this version fast-forwards through it.

    Mary Queen of Scots opened to mixed reviews and currently holds a 63% positive rating from critics and 44% audience favorability on RottenTomatoes. Its opening weekend took in a painful $194,777 on a $25 million budget. A successful film gets the audience invested in the story. Mary Queen of Scots ultimately failed to connect with audiences because it was more concerned with pushing the filmmaker's social perspective than making us care about who gains the English throne.
  • Mary Queen of Scots is an historically inaccurate modern activist film that fails in both casting and portraying accurately what transpired. Aside from Mary and Elizabeth having never actually met face to face the film includes things such as an Asian Countess, a black lord, and also includes too much attention regarding sex scenes and homosexuality. If you are interested in the true story this should be skipped at all costs; books and documentaries on the subject should be consumed instead. This film should have used fictional characters and locales in a fictional time.

    One day I hope someone has the cajones to make a film about Mary's son, James VI, who undid all the sacrifice and suffering of his fellow Scots, in their struggle for freedom, to ultimately bind Scotland to London via the United Kingdom.
  • This movie was so godawful I just sat there in pure frustration! Nothing about this movie was accurate! Mary and Elizabeth never met!!!! Mary was raised in FRANCE, she would have NEVER have had a Scottish accent let alone a Irish one! The gay husband....seriously!? The diversity of the cast, was just unbearable....never would have happened in that time period!

    Overall its 2 hours of my life I can never get back! Dont waste your time with this crap of a movie!
  • My God the historic inaccuracies are beyond... sorry guys but in those days Scotland nor England had the bast empire they later had during Victorian Era...seems the movie is confusing Isabel 1st with Victoria...where did all the black Nobles came from?...my God...I give it a 4, i'm deducting 2 just for the destruction of History confusing the young.
  • This is one of the worst films I've ever seen and I'm not exaggerating. I was going to go over its myriad faults but other reviewers have already done that, so having just wasted 2 hours of my life watching this drivel, I won't waste any more time. I'm just surprised no-one in a wheelchair cropped up.
  • This is a truly terrible film made worse by the appalling theft of time; had the actors cut back on the utterly pointless "dramatic" pauses we could have been spared about an hour of pain. But neither the cast nor the Director were merciful. If the object was to make a martyr-movie then it succeeded - but the martyrs were the long suffering audience not Mary. Just for the record though, Mary spoke with a. French accent not Scottish, Elizabeth was a strong and ruthless Queen who never met Mary and there were no black, Asian or openly gay members of Mary's or Elizabeth's court. I appreciate that diversity is essential to have a chance of an Oscar, but the paying public just finds this patronising; Elizabethan England and even more so Scotland was very white and very Christian (whether you like it or not). To say otherwise is not clever positional-play it is lying; lying with propaganda at its dark heart. (By-the-way, whatever happened to cultural appropriation?) Also, if they really want accolades then pandering to the BBC and its love of diversity is no substitute for decent acting or a supposedly historical movie bearing some resemblance to history. All in all, a truly awful film. Warn anybody you care about not to go and see this shambles of a film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Definitely don't come to this movie for history: it takes two of the sixteenth century's most interesting political figures and renders their tense relationship into soap opera terms. Even the costumes are all wrong-- outside of periods of mourning, no one would be wearing that much black in a royal court.

    I could almost forgive it if the movie worked as art, but every character with the exception of Mary is so two-dimensional that it's hard to get involved with them.

    I could forgive the movie if it was entertaining, but it is quite a slog, feeling far longer than its two-hour runtime. Excessive sex scenes and pretty shots of the Scottish countryside do not entertainment make. The music is pretty standard "epic" fare. The cinematography is good but nothing exceptionally original or interesting.

    By the end, I was rather bored and ready to be out of the theater.
  • This is so hollywood cliche it scares me lovely costumes but everything else is pure fantsay rather then selling this as historic make it make belive because that is all this film is. Dont use real names use made up ones then they could get away with this but otherwise scotland should sue Mary spoke french had a french accent.
  • The costumes were brilliant...filming locations were mediocre...however that's where the movie ends for me.

    If you're looking for a historic movie..you're goi g to be a sadly disappointed. Elizabeth and Mary ever actually ever met in their life time, they never laid eyes on each other...they only corresponded through many letters to each other.

    Elizabeth was in a constant state of paranoia about Mary taking the throne from her. Her advisers constantly whispering in her ear, putting the idea in her mind about having Mary executed. It was actually never Elizabeth's intention to kill Mary.

    Mary actually only came to England once, because she was exiled from Scotland with no where else to go. While in England she would be captured and would remain on house arrest until her execution/beheading.

    This movie is a bunch of fictional fluff and not historically accurate to what actually happened in English/British history! Someone failed to do their research before making this movie! Extremely disappointing!!!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This film is so wretched it's hard to say where to start.

    Modernistic/PC/"woke" shoved in the viewers faces from start to end. The world would be such a great place if those mean old men would just let these women handle things. Forgetting of course that each would like to eliminate the other, and that Elizabeth ascended with the beheading of Mary Tudor.

    Some point to the leads' 'superb' acting. Meh. Ronan stares fiercely throughout, but her motivations are all over the place. Robbie wants some Oscar cred by playing ugly, but she's the wannest Elizabeth the screen has produced. Her makeup at the end is Queen of Hearts meets Ronald McDonald. She's out of the film for extended periods, draining whatever conflict might exist.

    Forget historical. Forget it. "Historical fiction" should involve fiction in the past, not treating well documented real people however you want to tell a story.

    Elizabeth has an Asian handmaid, and a black lord ambassador. Mary has a black handmaid, and a gaay hispanic minstrel who becomes a handmaid. Said minstrel then has sex with Mary's husband after their wedding feast. Mary later thanks him for this and being 'his true self'. Husband may or may be gaay (bi?) but does lower himself to pleasure Mary - passing on equal treatment. Other blacks abound in 16th century Scotland. Disappointed a trans Eskimo never showed up. Shows what a first-time female stage director will get you.

    The pacing is listless, and story convoluted with one plot countering another. The arthouse climax of a never-happened meeting of the two in a gauzy laundry is the brown cherry on this excreble pie.

    It's interesting that the positive reviews can point to little more than costumes and cinematography. When was the last time either of those was criticized in a film. This is a bad episode of "Reign" with higher production values.
  • Just seen this seen this shameless revisionist politically correct quotathon today whilst on holiday in the States. I don't think I've ever been so angry after seeing a historical film before. I can accept the possibility that there may have been one brother in or around Elizabeth I's 16th century court but not 6,7 or 8. Then there's Mary's entourage, which has even more PC boxes ticked. Obviously the director really wanted to 'rub our noses in it' with this social justice man hating rage fest. Avoid this film if you like accurate non box ticking revisionist history.
  • If you're looking for Saoirse Ronan's Oscar reel, this is it. She does a nice job, but the movie suffers from slow pacing, meaningless dialogue, and virtually anonymous supporting characters.

    Is England out of White actors? I ask because a Black face anywhere in England or Scotland in the Tudor Era would have been an anomaly, yet they cast Adrian Lester to play Thomas Randolph, Elizabeth's ambassador to Scotland. Do WHAT??

    Lester is a fine actor, but why not have him drive a Honda around London too? It's about as historically accurate. That's not the only case either. What next. Roots with an all-White cast? Hamlet as an Asian prince of Denmark? I know, Caitlyn Jenner as MLK!

    When one undertakes to make a historical film, at least pretend to do so accurately. It starts out a nice BBC docudrama, it ends up being Mary, Men in Tights.

    Also, shame on whomever talked Margot Robbie into taking a role where she looked so hideous. You are a heartless creature who would draw a moustache on the Mona Lisa.
  • francescobrosolo18 January 2019
    1/10
    Trash
    Just seen this seen this shameless revisionist politically correct quotathon today whilst on holiday in the States. I don't think I've ever been so angry after seeing a historical film before. I can accept the possibility that there may have been one brother in or around Elizabeth I's 16th century court but not 6,7 or 8. Then there's Mary's entourage, which has even more PC boxes ticked. Obviously the director really wanted to 'rub our noses in it' with this social justice man hating rage fest. Avoid this film if you like accurate non box ticking revisionist history.
  • As much as a love watch Saorise Ronan, and she was very good in this movie, I would NOT recommend it. It was so far off from being historically correct that it isn't even funny. The previews are NOT what they appear the movie truly is.
  • What's the point in a historial film which contains more inaccuracies than fact? Such liberties might be acceptable in the theatre, but cinema is a vastly superior artform and, therefore, this kind of thing doesn't cut it.

    Ironically, re-writing history to fit in modern agendas will surely only date a film - in decades to come, why would anyone interested in the 1560s seek out a film soaked in the agendas of 2018?
  • Just watched the movie... and ohhhh my lord, I didn't think it was going to be that bad! With all the talent involved, I expected at least something entertaining...but nope...a stinker it is, and it stinks to high heaven!

    I mean, I knew going in that this was supposed to be one of those re-imagined historical pics, taking creative licence, a lot of it actually, but not this freaking much?!

    It tries to be both a live-action play and an historical epic...and ends up being neither.

    On the meagre plus side, Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie are good, it's the movie surrounding them that sucked. Also the cinematography is beautiful. And that's it.

    Think of "Mary, Queen Of Scotts" as "King Arthur Legend Of The Sword" and the recent "Robin Hood" without the action set pieces...can we please stop making these damn "woke" versions of historical movies and just try to make a good movie instead?!

    4 out of 10.
  • I can't get past the strong Irish accent of lead actress, Saiorse Ronan as Mary! What a blunder of casting! Coupled with Margot Robbie's portrayal of Mary's cousin, Queen Elizabeth as a cartoon character, who garners no sympathy as a constant whiner, and turns over every ounce of her power to the scheming men around her. And Mary is no better, with scene after scene of starry blue-eyes gazing in to infinity with bravery, while she naively selects and submits to her drunken, debauched husband and trust of her flip-flopping brother, who connives to bring her down. What finished this film off for me was a gauzy curtain scene where the Queens have a showdown, despite the historical fact that they never met. Net takeaway: women are dummies abused by bad men.
  • calisparkz21 January 2019
    Ok I will start by stating what everyone else has already stated, this movie is a hot mess of terrible inaccuracies, and the moronic world of Hollyweird has gone too far trying to be "diverse and overly PC" Scotland in the 1500's was not full of black and Asian people! This has got to stop! Can we go back to making movies just for the sake of movie making? This is akin to making a historical black or Asian movie full of blonde white actors, which I know would cause absolute uproar but somehow this is ok because it fit Hollywood's agenda! I for one will be boycotting all movies from now on, my faith in the movie making process is gone, there is nothing more I would like to see now than for Hollywood to implode...never to be heard from again!
  • What's worse, inaccurate dialog/accents or PC casting gone OUT OF CONTROL in a historical drama? I don't know but who gave this woman a chance to direct this story?? Why? These people were white, deal with it, that's life. The theater background of the director is also painfully obvious at points in the performances; way over the top, just like stage actors would do. I guess she thought the audience wouldn't be able to hear the actors (she forgot about the big shotgun mic!) One star. 0 if I could. Don't even bother on Netflix.
  • What an awful film. I would have left after 15 minutes but stayed when my companion insisted that I do so. There are three reasons for my poor review. (1) The actresses chosen to play Mary and Elizabeth were lightweight for the parts and were never believable in their roles. Saoirse Ronan does not have the gravitas to pull off the role. She may be fine portraying contemporary characters in movies, but not historical ones that are larger than life. Particularly annoying is that she speaks with an Irish accent and she is supposed to be a Scottish queen. The woman who plays Elizabeth is better, especially when portraying her as haughty and aloof, but when she gets simpering the portrayal becomes annoying. Besides, all Elizabeths will be compared to Cate Blanchett's portrayal and will ultimately fall short, and in this case, way short. (2) What a disastrous decision to populate the courts of Elizabeth and Mary with Black and Asian actors. Of course I have no problem seeing these actors in movies... except when it harms the historical authenticity of the portrayal. There were no Black and Asian people in the high courts of both countries during that period. Let alone presenting the English ambassador to Scotland as Black. All this for the sake of artistic license. Such a dumb decision. (3) The director of this film really missed the mark. I blame the director for the odd pacing and stilted dialogue. The real problem is that this movie is very literal, and lacks any type of nuance. It also lacks historical accuracy, for instance, Mary and Elizabeth never met in person. In this movie their meeting is a great example of bad acting, poor direction and cringe-worthy dialogue. I cannot believe the good reviews professional critics have given this movie. My respect for them has diminished as a result. The only good points were the costumes and the cinematography. But if that is a movie's claim to fame... I say what a waste of viewer's time. Don't bother unless you know nothing about history and like your movies superficial and inane.
  • You know this film is going to be awful as soon as Mary speaks with her 'Bonnie wee lassie' Scottish accent. Fairy story made for the bin.
  • Everything about this movie from the title, cast, dialogue and the inserted narrative before and after the film is with one purpose - promote a fanatic ideology and maskarade it as historical fact. The main theme - all women are smart, strong and good. All men are stupid, weak, chaotic and obsessed with bringing women and other men down. Men are the main source of problems and pain for women.Even if women turn on each other it is because of men. Mary and Elizabeth wanted to be sisters and play together but men forced them in a bad direction. When Elizabeth turns bad she declares she is now more a man, than a woman and this is one of the high points according to the director. Another important massage from this movie is that unfortunately men are needed for conception and procreation. Such a nuisance! And this is not implied, it is verbally stated because it is "important massage" and the director thinks some of us are too stupid to figure it out after the first hour. And not only that but Mary does not fail to mention her husband lasted only a minute, because... I don't know. Maybe someone well-verse in modern feminism can chime in. The cast? The key word is diversity. Forget about the old times when the actor/actress has to be chosen to resemble the physical appearance of the historic figure. No, that is racist. The (politically) correct way to do these things nowadays is to have a fixed quota of minorities in main, supportive and background characters. English ambassador is a black man.He is still ignorant character because he is a man, even if from a minority. Some of the lords are also black. About 10% of Scottish peasants are sub-Saharan Africans. Why?! I don't know, something about diversity as divine virtue. If I was a black actor it would have been a humiliation and insult to work on such project where I am just a token of political massage. The film takes no interest in the history. History is just a requisite that has to be tailored to serve the main agenda. Facts don't matter. If certain events never took place they will be invented to serve the narrative but the movie will still be presented like a historical drama. I am giving it 2 stars and not one, because there we few scenes with good cinematography and that's it. To me this movie is an insult both to my intelligence and to my standards for truth, fairness and objectivity.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie was a waste of time. It ignored the reality of two powerful women in favor of an invented gay drama. It reduced Mary to a girl who spent most of the movie be undressed by her servants, being sexually assaulted by men, drinking and giggling with her girls about boys and sex and worrying about marrying for love. Queen Elizabeth is made to look like the mad hater and queen of hearts from Tim Burton's version of Alice in Wonderland and spends most of the movie worrying about her appearance and her barren womb. The movie was more about the men around these women than the actual women. The script could have been better if written by a college student studying history. It was that disappointing. This movie was a waste of the location, costuming, cinematography and actors.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This was a sore disappointment, though, to be fair, one does not go to the cinema to watch history. The script, such as it was, was dominated by subplots such as homosexuality and cross-dressing, which detracted from the real drama of the story. The writers also saw fit, in their wisdom, to make Queen Elizabeth the villain and Queen Mary the poor victim, when the truth was far more complicated than that. And why, of why, was it necessary to introduce the ludicrous anachronism of having numerous black characters in positions of power. There may have been one or two black servants at court at this time, but never, absolutely never, members of the Privy Council or peers of the realm. A real disappointment.
An error has occured. Please try again.