Elizabeth: The Golden Age

I finally watched this film 2 years after its release.
It was visually stunning!
I loved learning more about the queen and that time of history, however, I was disappointed how they exaggerated the polarity between the Catholics and Protestants. See below for more quotes, etc.

A follow-up to the 1999 Oscar nominated ELIZABETH, the biographical saga of our favorite queen continues in ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE. Growing keenly aware of the changing religious and political tides of late 16th century Europe, Queen Elizabeth’s (Blanchett) throne is openly challenged by the Spanish King Philip II—with his powerful army and sea-dominating armada—determined to restore England to Catholicism. Preparing for war to defend her empire, Elizabeth struggles to balance ancient royal duties with an unexpected vulnerability in her love for Sir Walter Raleigh (Owen). But he remains forbidden for a queen who has sworn body and soul to her country. Unable and unwilling to pursue her love, Elizabeth encourages her favorite lady-in-waiting, Bess (Cornish), to befriend Raleigh to keep him near. But this strategy forces Elizabeth to observe their growing intimacy. As she charts her course abroad, her trusted advisor, Sir Francis Walsingham (Rush), continues his masterful puppetry of Elizabeth’s court at home—and her campaign to solidify absolute power. Through an intricate spy network, Walsingham uncovers an assassination plot that could topple the throne. But as he unmasks traitors that may include Elizabeth’s own cousin Mary Stuart (Morton), he unknowingly sets England up for destruction.
(written by Suzanne Lacharde @ hillzoo.com)

Cate Blanchett

Clive Owen

Geoffrey Rush

Samantha Morton

Abbie Cornish

Eddie Redmayne

Rhys Ifans
(I didn't recognize him until credits - from Notting Hill)

Tom Hollander

William Houston

Laurence Fox (on left)

See more movies on British Royalty

Favourite quotes:

Elizabeth: I like your immensities. Your ocean is an image of eternity, I think. Such great spaces make us small. Do we discover the New World, Mr Raleigh, or does the New World discover us?
Raleigh: You speak like a true explorer.

Elizabeth: May we have wisdom not to fear shadows in the night, and courage when the day of danger truly dawns.

Queen Elizabeth I: I, too, can command the wind, sir! I have a hurricane in me that will strip Spain bare when you dare to try me!

Elizabeth [to her army at Tilbury]: My loving people. We see the sails of the enemy approaching. We hear the Spanish guns over the water. Soon now, we will meet them face-to-face. I am resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all. While we stand together, no invader shall pass. Let them come with the armies of Hell; they will not pass! And when this day of battle is ended, we meet again in heaven or on the field of victory.

[Her speech was also said to have included the line, "I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too." recounted by Dr. Leonel Sharp]

This film was informative for me as to the extent of the religious divide between England and Spain at that time. While both Queen Elizabeth and King Philip were complex leaders and neither completely innocent of wrongdoing, the film chose to focus on the virtues of Elizabeth.

Tim Devan, the producer explains in the DVD's bonus features:
"The whole idea was to make a film that spoke to a contemporary audience and there were two things. One is the overall plot that's come up for a religious fanatic who'll stop at nothing basically in order to have their message shoved through and that, actually, that the only way forward is one of tolerance, and that we would portray the Queen as a tolerant woman, basically. And so, the clash of those two idealogies, if you like, was one that we knew an audience, and more and more so, as it turns out are gonna recognize straight away."

Having always been fascinated by Queen Elizabeth, I watched with awe as Cate Blanchett embodied the role of one of the longest reigning, most powerful monarchs that ever lived. I did take pause however, at some of the insinuations in the film that seemed to suggest anti-Catholic sentiments.

Elizabeth, right before the battle, speaks:
"My lords, I can offer you no words of comfort. This Armada that sails against us, carries in its bowels the Inquisition. God forbid it succeeds, for then there will be no more liberty in England of conscience or of thought. We cannot be defeated."

[Am I simplifying things or overly sensitive but it seems to suggest that if England became Catholic, there would no longer be liberty of conscience or thought? The Inquisition has a terrible history behind it, but that statement seems to jump to the conclusion that any Catholic monarch would be less than "tolerant" as the film is trying to portray Elizabeth. Wikipedia refers to some who took note of anti-Catholic sentiment. I don't mean to get on a soapbox but that was one element that disturbed me.]

Overall, I thought the cinematography of this film was spectacular. Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and Clive Owens were outstanding in their roles and the costumes were exquisite!



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