Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)
Good Fun but Flawed History
Overall I enjoyed the movie. There have been too many recent films
about the Tudors and Elizabeth in particular, but this film looks good
and it keeps you entertained. It's set at the time of the Spanish
Armada in 1588. Elizabeth is shown as tough, smart, and married to her
country. She also suffers from bouts of insecurity and irrational
jealousies. This film is more hagiographic and melodramatic than its
The film tends to ignore the facts when they get in the way of the
story. Elizabeth was 55 at the time of the Spanish Armada and she was
never a looker. Blanchett's Queen is youngish and attractive.
Blanchett's acting performance is powerful and impressive but also a
bit stagy. The way the politics of the time are depicted is a bit too
black and white. The Spanish look grim and are dressed in dark colors.
They are portrayed as crazy, religious zealots. Spain had a right to be
upset at English privateers / pirates who attacked their ships and
stole their gold. Mary, Queen of Scots is shown as a dowdy, schemer who
disliked Elizabeth. The reality was that Mary was a pretty bimbo who
made bad choices when it came to men.
Parts of the film veer too much towards soap-opera. Sir Walter Raleigh
(Clive Owen)becomes a favorite, but when Bess Throckmorton, one of the
Queen's ladies-in-waiting and Raleigh get secretly married, Elizabeth
becomes jealous and behaves badly. Later, Raleigh and Francis Drake are
shown defeating the Spanish at sea. In reality Raleigh was looking
after the coastal defenses in the South West of England and didn't
marry Throckmorton until 1591. The real Raleigh was a brilliant man:
soldier, explorer, writer, poet and courtier and probably deserves his
own film. The film is good fun but it's simplistic, cartoon history.
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