Historical Ridiculousity! It’s like Hark, a Vagrant up in here!
Directed by Shekhar Kapur (1998). Starring: Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Christopher Eccleston, Joseph Fiennes, Richard Attenborough
The cut and dry plot of Elizabeth is that Princess Elizabeth becomes queen after the death of Mary, but there is controversy over this! For Elizabeth is not just a woman, but also a protestant. In the mix, Sir William (Attenborough) pesters her about getting married, her affair with Robert Dudley (Fiennes) is court gossip, Marie of Guise is threatening her from Scotland, and she is starting to crumble under the pressure.
(Beware, there be spoilers afoot!)
I learned many important lessons from this movie. The key ones being two of England’s fiercest blue-eyed actors play villains.
(Doesn’t everyone have to use that blue-sky shot with Daniel Craig? I mean, really. And when Eccleston showed up I kept thinking “CHRIS!” really loudly in my mind. If you watch Doctor Who, you already know why that casting is funny).
I have to confess, I haven’t been won over by Cate Blanchett in the past. Blame Benjamin Button. But she won me over by this scene:
Although, logically she should have won me over with this scene. Achieving that kind of paleness is one of my lifelong goals.
Inevitably I’m going to gush about the costumes. That said, here’s a new Important Name for my list.
Alexandra Byrne, you are goddamn fabulous! I have no idea if these costumes are at all historically accurate, but I do not care. They are far too pretty for me to concern myself over something petty like “historical accuracy.”
Since I’m not generally a fan of Middle Renaissance fashions, I was really surprised by how much I liked some of Elizabeth’s gowns. Except for the historically-accurate poofy pants, I liked the guy’s outfits as well.
How does Joseph Fiennes wear these costumes so well? Can he open up a school and teach this to other actors this skill? Because, hot damn!
To be frank, I probably see this movie as so ridiculous because it was late, I was tired… but all of my notes look insane! So that’s my excuse for this being less of an actual review and more of a Look What I Found: Wacky Historical Hijinks!
Including my Number One Way Not to Die: Death by Dress
How does one even go about poisoning a dress?
And for some scene that I don’t even understand, Secret Agent Monk comes to England under one of the most unnecessary title cards I have ever seen.
He gets out of the boat, has a brief chat with Evil Catholic Norfolk (Eccleston), then briefly interrogates Babyface Protestant Spy and somehow… knows that Babyface is a spy?
After no real indication beforehand that he is familiar with this character and his (minor) situation in the plot.
So, yeah. Excuse me while I call shenanigans. Besides some brief scenes at *ominous music* The Vatican, Secret Agent Monk mostly wears his hood up and wanders around the castle looking ominous, so I guess they had to give him this scene. Gotta work Craig’s baby blues, after all.
And no one can deny the Elizabethan Girl Posse. When this movie isn’t all dramatic, Queen Elizabeth parties and these girls benefit. Who wouldn’t, in that situation? I just love how they’re all crying at the end, when Elizabeth decides to become a Virgin. They are crying because partytimes are over, it’s all white face paint and wigs from here on out.
But when there was partytimes, there was this pair of costumes, so I will always love this movie.
I don’t even care if this turns out to be the most ahistoric pair of outfits in the history of Elizabethan costume dramas, they are awesome.