Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Hmmm, what to say about Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Of course it was stunning - the scenery was gorgeous as was the wardrobe. The story itself however was sparse. How difficult it must be to compact such a complex tale into just under two hours. The Armada, the Catholic insurgents...what do you cut? What do you focus on? Mary, Queen of Scots, poor girl, was reduced to a sidenote looming ominously in the background. Francis Drake became a cameo. Phillip II, a caricature of himself. Was that bad? Not necessarily. The movie is, after all, entitled Elizabeth and was still enjoyable although its focus was directed exclusively upon the many facets of the veritable queen. In 1998 or thereabouts, when the first Elizabeth/Cate Blanchett movie was released, I related with the young queen that was being portrayed - the self doubts, lost innocence and uncertainty of the future. Ten years later, I find myself again relating with Elizabeth's personal situation. The middle-aged queen may have figured out who she is, gaining  a degree of self-confidence and respect among her peers and establishing her place in the world both socially and politically. Yet even with her tenacity, she is still plagued by her own insecurities and phobias - whether justifiable or not, whether trivial or substantial, they were the concerns that mattered to her. She was, no doubt, her own harshest critic and worked her ass off to ensure no one would ever have reason to question her authority. There was so much available to her - she could have had anything or anyone she wanted but was smart enough to realize that any action, however minor, would have its repercussions. Thus she made her choices based on reason over emotion, however difficult that often must have been.  I do love stories about strong women. They are even more compelling if they are able to successfully portray the vulnerability of these women who are all too often characterized as being cold, harsh, ruthless and insensitive. A good job by Cate Blanchett to successfully convey the many aspects existing behind the icon that is Elizabeth I.
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