Fierce feminine focus | Daily News
Mary Queen Of Scots

Fierce feminine focus

Set in the 16th century ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ opens with a series of intriguing episodes of Mary Stuart’s final days. We are shown a vague profile of the young queen as she makes her way to the block to be beheaded for conspiring against Elizabeth I, the Queen of England. Then the story rolls in flash forward mode, bringing its viewers to the story which led Mary to her destiny.

A widowed Mary Stuart returns from France to her native country, Scotland, to establish herself as its queen. Naturally this does not go down well with her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. A Protestant, spinster and childless, Elizabeth has much to envy of her young cousin. The two strong women, each possessing their pros and cons, are pitted against each other from the start. Mary is a Catholic. She marries a dashing young Englishman and manages to have a son. Thus she is seen as an immediate threat to Elizabeth’s place in the throne. Many of the ambitious aristocrats in their courts too realize this and try to manipulate them however each woman proves that they are no match for them in their wit and valour.

Though she is the virgin queen, Elizabeth has maturity and experience on her side. She is also not quite as easily led as Mary is by her advisers. However both women are strong willed and courageous. They do not fear to take up the sword and march into the battlefield to protect their inheritance.

Saoirse Ronan gives a worthy performance as the protagonist of the tale. Margot Robbie too does justice to Elizabth’s role. However since the plot allows limited screen space for her, most of her talents seem to go to waste. She disappears under layers of make up which is seen here as a symbol of Elizabeth’s unpredictable nature.

Kudos to the team for their efforts in designing the background to fit the era and paying attention to even the minute details in the costumes. John Mathieson’s cinematography captures Scotland’s stunning vistas in the best possible manner so that at times it becomes a distraction by keeping the viewers engaged in the film in moments that the action seem monotonous.

We get a few chilling scenes which are mostly suitable for the adult viewers in the film. One such episode deals with the brutal murder of David Rizzio. Another traces the devious plot which is hatched to kill off Mary’s husband, Lord Darnley. You also get a couple of scenes dealing with the topics of homosexuality and infidelity.

The climax of the whole drama is probably the scene in which Mary and Elizabeth confront each other. This is quite mesmerizing episode especially since history tells us that the two allegedly never met. When this scene unfurls before our eyes we realize that director Josie Rourke has put all the previous episodes I the story together like a jigsaw puzzle to set stage for the eventual showdown between the two great queens.

This is one motion picture which deals with women empowerment and ideologies. It shows that women can be headstrong and spirited till the end and can fit well into what is considered as a man’s domain from those early years onwards. Yet it also shows that that uneasy les the head which has a crown placed on it no matter what gender it represents. Ambitious and malicious men surround the two women and try to use them as pawns for their own gain. Therefore we cannot help but sympathize with the two leads as they are made to hold their heads high in a world of patriarchy in this period drama. 


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