Elizabeth (1998)

elizabeth poster 1998 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 9/10

Blanchett, good looking

Historical inaccuracies

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Elizabeth

Studio:  PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  October 23, 1998

MPAA Rating:  R

elizabeth cate blanchett joseph fiennes

What do you mean you’re betraying me to “Shakespeare in Love”?

When Queen Mary (Kathy Burke) dies, the throne is passed to her half-sister Elizabeth (Cate Blanchett) whose Protestant beliefs go against most the nobles of England.  With her throne in jeopardy from her own supporters and no husband, Elizabeth finds herself in a dangerous position.  With both France and Spain vying for her hand, Elizabeth fights her love for the Earl of Leicester Robert Dudley (Joseph Fiennes) and question if she is fit to rule a kingdom.

Directed by Shekhar Kapur, Elizabeth is a historical drama.  The film received some criticism for historic inaccuracies but praise for the performances and look.  It won an Academy Award for Best Makeup with nominations for Best Picture, Best Actress (Blanchett), Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Costume Design, and Best Original Score.

elizabeth geoffrey rush daniel craig

“Do you expect me to talk?”
“No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!”

1998 was the year of World War II and Elizabeth.  All the films were either set in World War II (Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line, Life Is Beautiful) or had some tie to Queen Elizabeth (Shakespeare in Love, Elizabeth).  While I don’t think the right film won, I also don’t think that the best actress won.

I’ll admit that there are inaccuracies in the script.  The story is played up for drama and relationships within the movie often were non-existent or over emphasized.  A lot of the basic stuff is accurate, but then it goes into the idea of entertainment vs. history…which is often the case.

At least, Elizabeth is blessed with a great cast and great performances.  Cate Blanchett is amazing by demonstrating both sensitivity and strength as a woman who is torn between multiple factions and forced to choose others over herself.  The scene in which she prepares to talk to the nobles demonstrates this alone.  She’s backed up by great supporting actors in Geoffrey Rush, Richard Attenborough, Christopher Eccleston, Daniel Craig, and Joseph Fiennes who double dipped by also appearing Shakespeare In Love as the lead.

elizabeth cate blanchett virgin queen

You’re playing with the Queen of Hearts

The film also looks amazing.  The visuals and beauty of some of the outdoor scenes contrast with the dank and dark castle settings.  Blanchett’s character goes from the light beauty with long hair to the chiseled Virgin Queen…and the film reflects this.

Elizabeth is a solid film.  I can forgive the inaccuracies a little more than a film like Braveheart because they are often less blatant, and you get great performances.  The movie has set itself up for sequels for years with the forty year reign of Elizabeth and the movie was followed by the sequel Elizabeth:  The Golden Age in 2007.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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