Okay, so it might not be true that the women were friends, or that they ever met in person – and, well, Saoirse’s Scots accent is so darn Irish that I just can’t see past it. But all of that aside, Mary Queen of Scots looks like an awe-inspiring, female-led juggernaut of a historical picture, steaming through the inaccuracies with so much conviction that it’s impossible not to want to see.
In what is a magnanimous and thinly-veiled Oscar battle for the ages, the new trailer for NT director Josie Rourke’s new feature has all the ingredients of a solid biopic, recalling Braveheart and surpassing both the 1971 period drama and the 2013 Swiss-French production. After a first look back in July, we now have a fuller picture of the movie, which pits Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) against Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie) as warring sisters, fighting for power and agency. There will be battles, there will be blood, and there will be so much intense staring that you’re going to feel like someone is about to get vaporized. The synopsis is as follows:
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…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.
With Beau Willimon (The Ides of March, House of Cards) penning the screenplay, we can expect plenty of sharp dialogue, meaty political encounters, and cutthroat historical savagery. The movie doesn’t aim to sugarcoat the events – from the gothic opening, Mary is condemned to death, and it doesn’t get much cheerier than that – but Rourke has chosen to represent the two women as intense political rivals to crank up the tension and create an impressive picture for awards season.
I’d say Mary Queen of Scots is as good as guaranteed for a Best Costume Design, Production Design and Actress nomination. After the two leads narrowly missed out on Academy Awards earlier this year – Ronan for Lady Bird and Robbie for I, Tonya – the latest movie gives them another shot at the statuettes. Also starring are Gemma Chan, David Tennant, Guy Pearce, and Joe Alwyn, so we know that there is a stellar lineup whatever the result.
Mary Queen of Scots will be released in select theaters on December 7, 2018. In case you missed the first trailer, you can watch it here, and take a look at the movie posters below.
Mary Queen of Scots: New Trailer [Den of Geek]