Mary, Queen of Scots
Directed by Thomas Imbach
The life and death of the Scottish monarch.
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★★★★½ review by Emily on Letterboxd
This movie was so good! I went into it expecting a sad, meandering, cerebral period drama, and that's exactly what I got. It focuses on Mary's childhood up to her imprisonment, with a few flash-forwards to her execution. The 20-odd years of her actual imprisonment aren't included. The film makes the viewer feel rather lonely. Written and acted impeccably, and the scenery and costumes are amazing. It rather reminds me at times of both the sullen, dreamy, rainy 2011 "Wuthering Heights" film; or the trance-like sunny "Picnic at Hanging Rock". This film is definitely a new favorite.
★★★½ review by Melody on Letterboxd
"All the years I longed to touch your hands and all I get is a lump of gold."
This was another of those movies I really wouldn't have watched were it not for MUBI, I'm about as good with period drama as I am with light comedy; and, though I scraped through exams on this history, that one hour window where I took those exams was literally the single shining moment where I could even pretend to know or understand it, so low is my level of interest in it (sorry, history people).
But this movie is a little more interesting than your average movie on this stuff, and it drew me in particularly towards the end, presenting Mary as being about as happy with being who she is as I expected to be watching her story. This could easily have come across as a spoiled ungrateful rich girl story, but for whatever reason, I really felt her isolation and dissatisfaction, and that's more connection than I could've hoped for.
It's also another movie (after Amour Fou last month) that reminded me of Eric Rohmer's period stuff - it's clearly low budget with any money going into the costumes and using pre-existing locations, but it does feel a little less theatrical than the Rohmer stuff… if it ever feels less than natural, though, it seems perfectly in keeping with Mary's state of mind, of going through the motions, longing for something else she can't quite put her finger on (I feel like this subtle indication of her inner workings, intended or not, was far more effective than the bizarre, manic bursts of musical score in her more dramatic moments). That to me seems what any story of royalty should be. I'll probably like this even more if I ever see it again… I didn't come to it with nearly as much faith as it deserved today.
★★★★★ review by dph on Letterboxd
Spellbinding film-making, fused with histrionic, ominous photography and music, set in seasick pantomime. Rutherford is masterclass in a star-making turn, and Imbach imbued blocking like a theater pro. A
★★★½ review by Katriin on Letterboxd
filled with void and emptiness
as a letter - (never sent) the scattered self-reflection, constant yearning and plea for ones vanquish - feels believable
★★★½ review by Meghana Bommareddy on Letterboxd
I had such high hopes for this based on the trailer, but it didn't reach those expectations. Camille Rutherford is stunning as Mary, the costumes are wonderful and the other actors give enchanting performances, but I felt as if the script could have been much better. It felt disjointed and a bit rushed. I also feel as if the plot would be hard to comprehend to anyone who isn't well-versed in this area of Scottish history. Still, the film is beautiful to look at and is the perfect length, so it's definitely worth a try. I really loved the music by Sofia Gubaidulina.
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