Elizabeth is a beautifully shot film directed by Shekhar Kapur. The cast was a whose who of future stars and past cinema giants. The cast includes Geoffrey Rush, Christopher Eccleston, Kelly MacDonald, Daniel Craig, Vincent Cassel, Emily Mortimer, Richard Attenborough, Fanny Ardant, Joseph Fiennes and of course Cate Blanchett. It is screen legend John Gielgud's final picture before his death at the age of 96 and he gets to play the Pope. English pop singer Lily Allen also appears in a small role when she was just 12 years old. The film portrays the early part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. She is the [...] child of King Henry VIII and Anne Bolyn, and was queen for 45 years starting in 1558 and until her death. The period she ruled was often regarded as the most significant period of growth in England's past. Her legacy is a positive one and she is often recognized as the most highly regarded British monarch in history.
The film follows how Elizabeth became queen after Mary I of England's death. It deals with many issues regarding the fact that she is Protestant and was imprisoned for allegations that she planned to assassinate Queen Mary I. She is released when Mary I dies and Elizabeth becomes queen. Many conspire against her, from Catholics to the Scots and the French. It also follows Elizabeth's love affair with Robert Dudley (Joseph Fiennes). The film ends fittingly with Elizabeth's reign entering stability just before the beginning of the English Renaissance. I say fittingly because a sequel to Elizabeth is being released this fall and it will no doubt exhibit the true nature of Elizabeth's legacy and the reverence held toward her to this day. It covers a more interesting period in my opinion.
I actually had a problem with the concept of this film. The nature of this period in Elizabeth's life didn't sit well with me in terms of transferring to a motion picture. The way liberties are taken with historical facts inject drama effectively and actually makes up for what should've been a fairly anti-climactic story. So her life becomes a bit of soap opera. Part of me thinks that if the film was pure history it still could've been good but perhaps not has marketable. I found it enjoyable either way. The sets and costumes are incredible and the cinematography is also worth praising. The real strength in Elizabeth is Cate Blanchett. She is the best actress of this generation and is amazing here. This may not seem like a timely review (it's about eight years overdue) but with the sequel coming out I recommend seeing Elizabeth. The sequel has Samantha Morton as Elizabeth's antagonist Mary, Queen of Scots and Clive Owen as Walter Raleigh. No doubt its release for the fall is setting it up for some major awards.