MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS is the most mis-marketed, bait and switch movie of 2018. Hands fucking down. It advertises in the trailers and tv spots that the film will portray “the ultimate rivalry” for rule between her and Queen Elizabeth, and that the movie is going to be about one giant power struggle. Nope. Wrong…Not. Even. Close. I made sure to brush up on some of the real history of Mary Stuart, and of all of her life they could’ve made the movie about (in fact, it could’ve just been one giant biography with 20 added minutes, with a lot of the fat trimmed out), they decided to make the movie about the least interesting part in her life, where she returns to Scotland. It is there the movie turns into a #MeToo type entity, where every single man character in the film is apparently a sadistic, mean, psychotic, asshole son of a bitch with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. This “rivalry” in the movie is barely even there. A couple of letters written between Mary and Elizabeth when Mary returns to Scotland, trying to make a deal with inheritance to eventually have one ruler over England and Scotland, and then only one final confrontation at the end of the movie. In a meeting that apparently is pure fiction and never takes place, they speak to each other for only 5 minutes, and then years of imprisonment/protection pass (which we do not see, nor do we hear about some of her cool escapes and escape attempts) and then Mary is sentenced to death for some letter Elizabeth has that we never see or hear anything about, other than that it might’ve been written in Mary’s hand about a plot to kill Elizabeth. Instead we are treated to 2 hours of Mary just dealing with dumb, mean men that completely ruin her life. Margot Robbie is in the movie for only about 10 to 12 minutes by the way, and in no way does she deserve a Best Supporting Actress nomination.
Saoirse Ronan on the other hand is utterly fantastic as Mary, and it would be well deserved if she was nominated, but at how much I completely dislike this film, I don’t care to see it get any nominations, as to send a message to the filmmakers this was the wrong way to go with the years and years of story that they could’ve told. What’s funny is that Saoirse doesn’t look a day over 18, (which is where we see her at the start of the film) and then she hasn’t aged a day, they didn’t even bother trying to do make up or use CGI, and is supposedly 44 when she gets executed. I know my movie review is all over the place, but if you think about it, I’m paying homage to the movie itself, which was the exact same thing. I currently have a couple of web pages next to the one I’m writing on and I’m scanning over the history of Mary and Elizabeth and I’m shocked at what is not in the film. There is some really juicy stuff such as Mary’s rule when she was younger before where the film starts, or some of her escape attempts and apparent plots to kill Queen Elizabeth, or they could’ve went full Rated R and actually shown how awful her execution was instead of it copping out with a fake to black end credits bullshit text update on what happened to the other characters kind of conclusion. Plus, even telling the story of Mary’s return to Scotland is riddled with inaccuracies, such as her marriage to Lord Darnley being a sham because he was gay and fucked her catholic private secretary Rizzio, when in actuality she was actually fucking him, or that she saw her son for the last time when he was clearly older than 1 or 2, when in actuality he was only 10 months, and again, if her and Elizabeth actually ever met. Also the conclusion of Lord Darnley’s character is very fictionalized and not at all how it really happened. If you are going to make an historical inaccurate film, and there have been many, they might as well have went full fiction and actually made the rivalry movie that was promised and marketed.
And the movie is quite boring. I was actually into it a little bit until it hit the 45 minute mark and I figured that the movie marketed to me and everyone else on Earth was a sham and it was something completely different. I kept looking at my watch, wondering when this rivalry/power struggle film was to begin, and it never did. I guess you could say the power struggle was within her own group of politicians that were supposed to be “loyal” to her but even that was uninteresting and too repetitive. It was basically males that seemed to just slap her around, control her and betray her, trying to turn a historical film into a platform that modern audiences can relate to, aka the #MeToo movement. I don’t know what really happened back then and couldn’t tell you anything unless I was standing there watching it all happen, but the movie seemed to make Mary too strong of a character, where when all this bad shit was happening to her, she should’ve just ordered the deaths of people around her to regain ultimate control, instead of just taking blow after blow without being able to do anything about it.
I’m just mad that I was scammed out of what could’ve been a very powerful movie about Mary Stuart, with a breathtaking performance from Saoirse Ronan. I had a similar complaint with Bohemian Rhapsody, in that they could’ve made a much better film than they did, with Rami Malek giving us a better powerful performance (don’t worry, he still owns the movie we got, but still) with elevated material. Is it possible someone could write something else in the next few years, maybe something about Mary’s entire interesting life and still get Saoirse back into the role? Now that I would give a chance and see. The look of the film was fine, the direction fine, some of the visuals fantastic, but the boredom, inaccuracies, and misdirection the movie ultimately told was too much of a distraction for me to even closely give some kind of recommendation. I guess if you love Saoirse Ronan, watch it for her performance, but that is about it. If you are going for Margot Robbie, be prepared to be overwhelmingly let down. It’s not one of the worst films of the year, but it is one of the worst disappointments.