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November 2, 2018

Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) --- “Woman, Warrior, And Queen. I Am Elizabeth.”

Plot Summary
Queen Elizabeth I (Cate Blanchett) faces threats to her rule from abroad and at home. Determined to restore England to Roman Catholicism, Spain's King Philip II dispatches his armada. Sworn to her country body and soul, Elizabeth must resist her love for charismatic seafarer Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen) and watch as he and her handmaiden grow closer. Finally, trusted adviser Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush) uncovers a plot involving her cousin Mary Stuart.

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
       Director Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth: The Dark Age) and writer Michael Hirst (Vikings) return alongside writer William Nicholson (Les Miserables, 2012) to continue the story about one of the most enigmatic and fascinating queens in history. Elizabeth (1998) gave audiences a glimpse into the first few years of a young newly crowned Queen Elizabeth Tudor and how she comes to crowning herself The Virgin Queen. In Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) we see a mature, respected, and accomplished queen who is confident in her abilities after many years on the throne. But she is still a woman who desires love and a family, and the film explores her feminine side. While at the same time we see her strength and dignity as dons full amour and rides out with her army to confront Spain, who seeks to take England from the coast.
     Although the story is not historically accurate it does come pretty close. The Golden Age is a balance between her public side and her personal side, and there are some analogies in the film that work great. For instance, she finds herself incapable of finding an equal mate and instead nurtures the surrogate child that her empire becomes. She also rediscovers the strength that she has always possessed and in turn becomes a leader that is both respected and adored. The intensity constantly and gradually builds up to the arrival of the Spanish Armada but there is a noticeable difference in comparison to similar films. This film is not about war or a historic military achievement, but rather it is about a woman who sacrificed her own happiness for her country and succeeded in commanding respect in a world of men. Elizabeth is and was a fearless queen who led her country from ruin and poverty to prosperity and greatness. Her reign ushered in a Golden Age for England and it is an age that cannot be so easily forgotten.
     In the 1998 film, the visuals had a sepia tone to them that gave the film a more warm and youthful feel. However, this film uses a green-tinted tone that gives the film a bit of an age or a maturity. Although some audiences were thrilled on the color change, I found it to be a welcome sight as it worked well with the story that followed a more mature queen then last time. The cinematography (Remi Adefarasin) was stunning, the sets (Guy Hendrix Dyas, Richard Roberts, and more) were remarkable, costumes & makeup (Alexandra Byrne and more) were excellent, and the music score (Craig Armstrong and A.R. Rahman) was beautifully mesmerizing.
     The cast gave superb performances. Cate Blanchett (The House with the Clock in its Walls) as Queen Elizabeth and Geoffrey Rush (POTC: Dead Men Tell No Tales) as Sir Francis Walsingham gave beautiful performances once again. Newcomers like Clive Owen (Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets) as pirate/merchant Sir Walter Raleigh, Abbie Cornish (Where Hands Touch) as the queen’s favorite lady’s maids Bess Throckmorton, and Samantha Morton (The Walking Dead; Harlots) as Queen Mary of Scots all gave great performances as well. There was great chemistry throughout but there were times when Blanchett and Owen were together and it was unclear what the emotional intentions were. In other words, during some of their scenes, you could tell he didn’t love her as a lover but rather admired her as a person and queen. And I think she knew that but she was still in love with the idea of falling in love and living happily ever after.

­­­    Overall, Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) is an outstanding film with an incredible story, stunning cinematography, remarkable sets, rich costumes & makeup, a  mesmerizing music score, and superb performances. While this is not completely accurate and there may have been a few minor flaws, The Golden Age is nothing short of an outstanding and entertaining film. If you enjoyed the first one then I highly recommend that you see this one. Who knows, you might even call it epic.

"I am called the Virgin Queen. Unmarried, I have no master. Childless, I am mother to my people. God give me strength to bear this mighty freedom. I am your Queen. I am myself."
- Queen Elizabeth I [last lines]

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  8.9 of 10 star
Worth Buying:  8.9 of 10 stars

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