Period pieces can always be a hit or miss. History nerds who know the story of the subject matter well, always dispute the facts of the film whilst those that aren't nerds, find it hard to be engaged. British history to non-history nerds like me seems to all be repetitive and uninteresting. Filmmakers have to find ways of telling a story and keep audiences engaged. Mary Queen of Scots does this remarkably well. The sharp dialogue and the strong themes of feminism had me absorbed, and while I am not a fan of period pieces, the story was an interesting one. After the film finished, I found out that a lot of what was depicted in the movie was false. However, it didn't bother me in the slightest.
The performances are worthy of giving this film a go. Saoirse Ronan as Mary as always was exceptional, however, it is Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth I, that completely won me over. Her heartfelt performance as a woman with envy, struggling with insecurities of losing her looks and not having a husband or child, shows an amazing portrayal of a vulnerable side to a powerful character. With the exception of the 2 main leads, this film boasts a diverse cast that looks beyond race in its casting choices. Gemma Chan as Elizabeth's confidante Bess of Hardwick was refreshing and seeing other POC actors like Adrian Lester play Lord Randoplh, makes the casting choices of this film very progressive.
A lot of history nerds have commented on the real-life meeting of the two main characters, as it is very inaccurate. Regardless, this fake meeting towards the end of the movie was the best bit. Seeing Robbie and Ronan share the scene together was powerful.
Watch this film if you don't mind period pieces. If you are a history nerd, the inaccuracies may make you angry. If you are a film nerd like me, you will forgive its inaccuracies and respect it as a well-made movie.