It’s naive to expect historical accuracy from a film, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be good. Braveheart (1995) was rousing despite its license. Mary Queen of Scots (2018) never takes off, too concerned with feminism and political correctness. There are two non-whites in the cast, black, Asian, good actors but out of place. The fact that two women of the 1500’s actually ruled should make any argument of sexism moot, although each must have suffered it to varying degrees. Queen of France at 16, widowed at 18, Mary defied pressures to remarry and returned to Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne, which put her in direct conflict with her cousin, Elizabeth I, as many Catholics believed Mary had a claim to the throne of England. It’s Stuart vs. Tudor, those names from the glorious history of the UK. The narrative favors Mary, who is done dirt and, despite intelligent maneuvering to preserve her place, eventually loses the battle and is beheaded at the age of 44. Most of the contact between the women is through written correspondence. There is no evidence that they ever met in the flesh, but there is a scene in which they do. It is solid but not as electrifying as the showdowns in great fare such as Becket (1964) or The Lion in Winter (1968). Perhaps that simply reflects my maleness, although I love how in the latter Kate Hepburn’s Eleanor of Aquitaine repeatedly tears Peter O’Toole’s Henry II a new one, dialogue as good as there ever was, adapted by James Goldman from his play. Saorise Ronin and Margot Robbie are fine as the protagonists, but the script lacks fire. Mary is almost saint-like, while Elizabeth is edgy and duplicitous. Who knows? They might have been exactly thus, but in this instance the conflict falls far short of dynamic, interesting though it is. I did not recognize Guy Pearce behind his long beard and hair. The other members of the large cast were unfamiliar to me. Josie Rourke, who has extensive experience directing for the stage, was at the helm, her first big screen effort. Beau Willimon adapted the screenplay from John Guy’s Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart. 28,000+ users at IMDb have rated Mary…, forging to a consensus of 6.3 on a scale of ten. It received two Oscar nominations, for makeup and costume. The cinematography is lush, shot in Scotland. It did fairly well at the box office. Made on a budget of $25 million, it returned $46 million worldwide. There is one brief battle scene, no blood spewing. There are sexual situations but no nudity. I believe the film would appeal largely to aggrieved feminists. Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry VIII and the beheaded Anne Boleyn, lived to 70, ruling 45 years. She was succeeded by James VI, Mary’s son by Lord Darnley, Henry Stuart. Here are the leads:
I can’t believe I’m citing women’s basketball, but this story is too interesting to ignore. Longtime Los Angeles Sparks general manager Penny Toler has been fired after admitting using a racial slur during a post-game speech to her team. She used the “N” word. She is black. Recall that the NBA and NFL frequently, in its promotions, use hip hop stars who have used it and other questionable terms. Is it just the WNBA that actually has standards? Still, firing is too harsh. Suspension would have been enough. Then again, maybe there’s more to the story, such as management wanting her out and having an excuse to can her.
It was one of those rare sessions when the floating book shop resembles an actual business. Danny came along while I was setting up the display. He always buys in bulk and did so today, going home with 15 books, all but two, large tomes used by lit’ classes, non-fiction. My thanks, and to all the other buyers. Here’s a list of what sold:
The Art of Serenity: The Path to a Joyful Life in the Best and Worst of Times by Karasu M.D., T. Byram
The Art of Grace: On Moving Well Through Life by Sarah L. Kaufman
You Know What They Say…: The Truth about Popular Beliefs by Alfie Kohn
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Jazz by Toni Morrison
Five kids books
A paperback short story collection
Two books in Russian
A Danielle Steel romance audio book on CD.
Dos Mundos in Breve, a textbook for a Spanish course.
A Nora Roberts romance.
My Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Vic-Fortezza/e/B002M4NLJE
Read Vic’s Stories, free: http://fictionaut.com/users/vic-fortezza