Guest Author - Karen L Hardison
The R rated film Elizabeth covers the life of England's Queen Elizabeth I. It begins in her youthful years during which she falls out of favor with Queen Mary after being wrongly implicated in a plot to overthrow the Queen. The story carries on until Elizabeth is given the throne and finally secures it and England with her unique courage and majesty: "I will have one mistress here and no master."
The issue most at hand in her personal life is that she marry. It was believed by the English Council that the only way for Elizabeth to have a strong rule was for her to marry and permit her husband to rule. Elizabeth had many suitors but not much intention of marrying, having developed a distrust of romance from her father King Henry VIII's murderous romantic escapades. She tells the Council in regards to her suitors from France and Spain: "I am not sure how best to please you unless I marry one of each."
The issue at hand for the kingdom is that England is threatened "from abroad by France and Spain and is weaker than" any had ever known. England's coffers had been emptied and the kingdom was now a powerless pawn caught between the rivalries of Spain and France—which is why each had sent suitors with the hope of acquiring England through marital alliance.
Elizabeth rises to the paramount task of protecting her kingdom with the declaration that "I am my father's daughter. I amn't afraid of anything." Her personal task fares less well—two masters can't be served: romantic self-indulgence and courageous self-sacrifice—and she ultimately declares, "I am not your Elizabeth. I am no man's Elizabeth."
Woven in the fabric of this compelling and excellent film is the key to the mystery of what prompted Elizabeth's change from preferring simple modest clothing and adornments to relishing the dramatic gowns and adornments that are the subject of paintings of Elizabeth I with which we are most familiar.
Cate Blanchett is flawless as well as strikingly beautiful as Queen Elizabeth I. Her costars, Geoffrey Rush, Christopher Eccleston and Joseph Fiennes are equally powerful in their roles.
In sum, Elizabeth (1998), directed by Shekhar Kapur (R rated) with screenplay by Michael Hirst, is majestic and a crowning achievement for all. Easy to find on DVD, you must see this biographic drama that is so moving—if you are an adult and aren't in the habit of sheltering yourself.
Shekhar Kapur – Director
Michael Hirst - Screenplay
Cate Blanchett - Elizabeth
Geoffrey Rush - Sir Francis Walsingham
Christopher Eccleston - Duke of Norfolk
Richard Attenborough - Sir William Cecil