Approx advert and trailer run time: 25 mins
Film run time: 2h 4m
Saoirse Ronan continues her sharp ascendancy with this star turn as one of the most fascinating figures in history. The film tells the story of the infamous relationship between Mary Stuart and her cousin Queen Elizabeth I (the nearly unrecognisable Margot Robbie), and the resulting conflict between England and Scotland.
Conducting two fiery female leads; this is the directorial debut from British theatre director Josie Rourke, making an impressive transition from stage to screen. Handling writing duties is Beau Willimon, known best as showrunner for the Netflix adaption of House of Cards — clearly relishing, bringing his brand of behind closed doors scheming from the White House to Elizabethan England and Scotland.
It really is all about Ronan’s performance though, who uncannily matches several of the historical paintings of Mary herself. She’s starkly juxtaposed with Elizabeth, the smallpox-suffering Queen with her white-painted face and bold red wigs. Alexandra Byrne’s costume design deserves all the plaudits, as does a brilliantly baroque score from composer Max Richter. Not to mention a sensational performance from David Tennant as sinister minister, John Knox.