As one would suspect of a costume drama, Thomas Imbach’s Mary, Queen of Scots is a gorgeous looking movie. Camille Rutherford does an admirable job portraying the young Queen thrust into political turmoil. Unfortunately, the film otherwise fails to capitalize of the tumultuous life of its eponymous Queen.
The film’s biggest problem is its lack of coherence. Mary, Queen of Scots almost feels like a longer film inexpertly edited into a shorter one. Things happen with little explanation or resolution. Characters come and go with little context. It’s almost as if the filmmakers are making a lot of assumptions about the viewers’ depth of historical knowledge.
One could suspect that the film is being deliberately evasive, that it is reflective Mary’s lack of political experience or her confused state of mind or some such. But that doesn’t seem to be the case as the film relies on quite a few narrative crutches. There’s a voice over narrator. Mary writes letters to her sister Queen Elizabeth. There’s a puppeteer who acts as a chorus. Mary is even visited by a dead friend. But despite all these attempts at explanation, the film still makes little sense or pack much of a punch, which is quite a feat given her dramatic life.
Using the festival’s scoring system, I ranked this Fair or 2 out of a possible 5.
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