Mary Queen of Scots – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Mary Queen of Scots – Royalty of Random Pieces

You first take that seat.  As you sit, the lights dim as the big screen glistens with an open door.  A smile comes to you as there is hope that what is about to happen is an intriguing journey.  From raunchy comedies to epic adventures, many stories present a challenge, hoping you (the audience) will escape into a new reality.  Outcomes may vary, but a decent script will invoke a genuine ride.  For this period piece, it is an examination of an iconic figure.  Even with amazing detail and great performances, the story straddles to close to the basics.  Mary Queen of Scots provides some standout moments, but there is a yearning that there could have been so much more.

The story revolves mostly around the titular character.  With a swift introduction, the film leads into a typical approach of any period piece.  From the art direction to the cinematography, the scripted interactions give off an authentic look of the 16th century.  The film begins with Mary Stuart’s (Saoirse Ronan) return to Scotland to take the reigns as Queen.  From the onset, she fights an uphill battle for power at home and abroad.  Paralleling her struggles is Queen Elizabeth (Margot Robbie), facing a similar battle with the English Royal Court.  As this happen, the interactions with other characters are riveting, shedding light on the issues of the time (Religion and Monarchy rule).  Each situation has an importance, creating endearing drama that sparks an array of personal conflicts.  These personal moments give off a genuine touch, highlighted by the strong performances from Ronan and Robbie.  They are strong, cunning but sometimes blinded by pride.  Having great leads creates an anchor for the story, where everything else starts to become cumbersome to watch. 

No matter how strong the leads carry the film, the typical period piece outline starts to rear an obvious fault in the direction.  With no development of the world, secondary characters become plot devices to move the leads between dramatic sequences.  This creates a linear directive that takes away from the emotions of the moment.  There is no attempt on reflecting on the real story, just props that become style over substance.  As the film moves into the final act/climax, it leads into a captivating sequence that highlights the struggles that Mary and Elizabeth have with royal duties.  As the epilogue rolls, it ends on closure that marks purpose to the journey.  Mary Queen of Scots is an escape that is littered with lost potential.  For fans of this genre, it is worth checking out, but I wouldn’t rush to the theaters.  Wait for a discount.

Final Score – 3 out of 5 (Theater Discount)

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