Mary Queen of Scots (2018)

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Critic Consensus: Mary Queen of Scots delivers smartly crafted period political thrills while offering a brilliant showcase for the talents of its well-matched leads.

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"Mary Queen of Scots" explores the turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart (Ronan). Queen of France at 16 and widowed at 18, Mary defies pressure to remarry. Instead, she returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne. But Scotland and England fall under the rule of the compelling Elizabeth I (Robbie). Each young Queen beholds her "sister" in fear and fascination. Rivals in power and in love, and female regents in a masculine world, the two must decide how to play the game of marriage versus independence. Determined to rule as much more than a figurehead, Mary asserts her claim to the English throne, threatening Elizabeth's sovereignty. Betrayal, rebellion, and conspiracies within each court imperil both thrones - and change the course of history.

Cast

Saoirse Ronan
as Mary Stuart
Margot Robbie
as Queen Elizabeth I
Jack Lowden
as Lord Darnley
Joe Alwyn
as Robert Dudley
David Tennant
as John Knox
Guy Pearce
as Sir William Cecil
Gemma Chan
as Bess of Hardwick
Martin Compston
as Earl of Bothwell
Brendan Coyle
as Earl of Lennox
Ian Hart
as Lord Maitland
Adrian Lester
as Lord Randolph
James McArdle
as Earl of Moray
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Critic Reviews for Mary Queen of Scots

All Critics (111) | Top Critics (37)

A dramatic but unreliable account of Mary's tenuous rule over Scotland and deadly rivalry with Elizabeth I of England.

Dec 14, 2018 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

"Mary Queen of Scots" feels like sitting through a history lesson, and not a particularly enlightening one.

Dec 13, 2018 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Ronan deserves better. And so do we.

Dec 13, 2018 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Although the film is competently made, there's nothing here worth more than a cursory art-house release in advance of home video purgatory.

Dec 13, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

The movie tries to have it both ways, by remaining mostly true to history while also taking numerous factual liberties.

Dec 13, 2018 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

The filmmakers have come up with a nifty, billowing fabric sequence to keep them apart while together, and that's enough to satisfy my urge to fact check, at least when the performances are as much fun as they are in "Mary Queen of Scots."

Dec 13, 2018 | Full Review…
NPR
Top Critic

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