Mary Queen of Scots

Director: Josie Rourke
Year Released: 2018
Rating: 1.0

The Catholic title ruler (Saoirse Ronan) goes up against powerful Queen Elizabeth I of England (Margot Robbie) for control of the kingdom, but it doesn't end up well for her: she's imprisoned and eventually beheaded (Protestantism wins! Fatality.). One would think with actresses like Robbie and Ronan, both strong screen presences, this would at least be a little spirited, but no - it's bone dry, with most of the attention paid to the makeup and set design. It tries to appeal to the 'modern crowd' by getting into sexual politics - Mary's one husband, Henry (Jack Lowden), may have liked oysters and snails (and aggressive sex) - but, like The Favourite, which also came out in 2018, this is all purely speculative from a historical point-of-view. There's one positive to emerge from this fighting-amongst-cousins: Elizabeth's successor (and Mary's son) James would unite England and Scotland ... and produce a work called Daemonologie, about werewolves and vampires and demons (!), which would (as the story goes) influence The Bard to write 'The Scottish Play.' Like a rat without a tail, that'll do, that'll do, that'll do.