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Cate Blanchett does a superb performance portraying Queen Elizabeth I. Strong in character, tender in the heart, she experienced life as most HRH's "did not dare" for the time period. She stood firm in her convictions as remaining a Protestant in ascending the throne, inspite of her sister's desire that she convert to Catholicism in a day when freedom of religion was still a concept. To have a sexual affair prior while on the throne for a queen was just unheard of. Blanchett poured every emotion she had into this character bringing a convincing life to the film. ...more info
I like films about inner and outer transformations, especially when it's about a woman who has to fight to stand up for her ideals and to defend the idea that a woman too can be a ruler. The last scene where she becomes the "virgin queen" is especially haunting. In truth, a film that is empowering for women everywhere. ...more info
- What I had waited my whole for.....
I was byond excited when this movie came out. I ran to the cinema! And I was certainly not disappointed. WOW. This movie is a stunner.
If you are at all a fan of English history, Elizabethian times and period drama's. You must see this! All the elements come together perfectly. Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth was perfect. Now I hear they're coming out with another one.... = ) Is all I can say....more info
- Way better than I expected.
To say this is not my usual kind of movie is an understatement, but since I buy pretty much everything released on HD DVD, I picked it up thinking my girlfriend might enjoy it.
As the title of this review suggests, I was pleasantly surprised. The movie moves quickly and does a good job of clearly laying out the challenges facing the new Queen. The acting, wardrobe and set designs are all first class. A very enjoyable film.
The picture and sound are good, especially the colorful outdoor scenes where HD DVD really shines. Some of the darker scenes are a little grainy however.
Bottom line: a good movie, with good picture and sound. Worth buying....more info
- The Virgin Queen...
1998's "Elizabeth" is an excellent dramatization of the early years of Queen Elizabeth I of England. A young and naive Elizabeth (superbly played by Cate Blanchett) came to the throne in a time of religious war, national rivalry, and cutthroat politics. Aided by the sound advice of her advisors and guided by her own intelligence and instincts, she survives a series of threats to her throne and to England to become the legendary Virgin Queen.
The story opens as "Bloody Mary", Catholic Queen of England and barren wife of King Philip of Spain, lies dying. The throne passes to her Protestant half-sister, Elizabeth, who is taken in hand by her courtiers, most notably the experienced Sir William Cecil (played with an attractive mixture of patience and urgency by Richard Attenborough). Elizabeth is immediately faced with complicated responsibilities as queen, not least of which her need to balance her love for the Earl of Leicester (Joseph Fiennes) against the demand of her advisors that she marry a suitable royal to build alliances for England.
Elizabeth quickly learns to make her own decisions in walking a narrow line between contending religious and political factions with the aid of her intelligence master, Sir Francis Walsingham (played with pitch-perfect sinster aspect by Geoffrey Rush). The supreme challenge to her throne comes from the ambitious and powerful Duke of Norfolk (Christopher Eccleston), who makes alliances with both friend and enemy in a plot to overturn Elizabeth. To survive, Elizabeth must demonstrate that she has mastered the lessons of power.
This movie is well-casted, superbly staged, reasonably faithful to the historical record, and features Cate Blanchett in her first real starring role. It is highly recommended to fans of historical dramas and to fans of the Elizabeathan era....more info
Simply a stunning transfer in High Def and a 5 outta 5 movie to boot!
You can't go wrong with this one :)...more info
It has been about 4 days since I have seen the movie and can't remember that much about this one. I guess that tells how much I liked the movie. It was ok and the special effects were ok as well. I would however recommend Elizabeth: The Golden Age over this one anytime. I still would recommend buying the cheapest version of either movie since I don't think you will remember either one for a long time. I did give the Golden Age higher marks as it did have a better storyline....more info
- Elizabeth the Silly School Girl
A work of fiction is a great thing, but to take the life of a famous historical character and potray it as accurate is wrong. Why not just make up a story with no historical basis?...more info
- Some Good, Some Bad
Elizabeth / B000RF7XYO
I love Tudor history, but I'm realistic enough to expect a Tudor movie to not be very historically accurate, so I went into Elizabeth with a pretty open mind, knowing that "history" and "entertainment" rarely meet in Hollywood. I'd have to say that "Elizabeth" does a fair job, but the movie definitely has its faults.
Blanchett performs wonderfully as Elizabeth and seems made for the role. I would have preferred that Elizabeth be portrayed as more composed and less nervous, which would be both historically accurate and equally entertaining to me, but I suppose that the filmmakers wanted Blanchett's nervous performance to reflect Elizabeth's inner turmoil. I'm sure it is very difficult to play a calm persona whilst conveying inner uncertainty.
Similar complaints abound for Elizabeth's indiscretion in scenes where she openly sleeps with Dudley while her ladies-in-waiting watch nearby - I would venture to guess that the whole scene is supposed to be Hollywood-shorthand for their unrequited love, but the ridiculousness of the scene is a little jarring, and I cannot understand why the directors didn't at least introduce a little more secrecy to the scene.
The scenes where Elizabeth comes into her own with gentle barbs and quiet cajoling of her parliament are beautifully handled and are wonderful to behold. Blanchett manages to convey just the right amount of humility and control, humor and iron will to make the scene convincing. Elizabeth's concerns about marriage are conveyed clearly and distinctly, as she frets over the inevitability of losing her power, should she wed. And the scenes where Elizabeth struggles with the realities of power, with the necessities of ruthlessness and aloofness, are perfectly conveyed.
I do wish, however, that the movie had employed a little more cunning and subtlety on Elizabeth's part. Historically, she managed to play several suitors on a string while she quietly built her country's defenses and earned her right to independence, yet this subtlety is not conveyed here. Regularly and loudly, she protests that she will never marry, and we see almost nothing of the Spanish suitor whose armada would fare so badly and so infamously against Elizabeth's navy. I was disappointed that none of this came across.
Overall, this is a decent movie, entertaining enough and with enough kind-of-historical merit to be pleasant to Tudor lovers. I probably wouldn't watch this movie again, though, outside of a one time rental.
Oddly, the movie information on the Amazon page lists that English subtitles are included, but the version I received from Blockbuster Online did *not* have English captions for the hard of hearing, only French and Spanish subtitles, so caveat emptor....more info
- Excellent movie!
Conspiracy, passion, murder and espionage comprise this interpretation of Elizabeth Tudor's rise to the thrown. Compelling plot and performances by Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and Joseph Fiennes make this movie a must see....more info
- Not a history lesson, but a good story
To those of you, who have yet to realize what an amazing actress Cate Blanchett is, look no further than 'Elizabeth'. The characters, the costumes, and the production designs are good enough to make this movie watch able, but it's Blanchett who breathes life into the film and makes it cinema storytelling at its best.
The story revolves around the rise of the young Queen Elizabeth I (Blanchett) who would soon become one of England's most powerful rulers. Reviled as a heretic by the Catholic Church, surrounded in the midst of traitors, and caught up in a romance with a young Lord that could jeopardize her crown, Elizabeth is forced to learn that as a queen... she must become untouchable in order to maintain her throne. The supporting cast does an excellent job with special nods to the ever elegant Geoffrey Rush, but it's Blanchett who manages to steal each and every scene. Her performance was more than Oscar worthy, and is surely one of her best.
Some have compared this with `Shakespeare in Love' which includes two of the main leads from this film and was also released in the same year. Both are good films, but whereas `SIL' plays generally for laughs, Elizabeth is a serious film that should be taken seriously. There are historical plot holes - but these should not be used as a reason for slating the film. In fact it seems that Hollywood encourages this type of approach these days. There are any numbers of unexplained actions, and characters are sometimes hard to identify, but the camera work, color, and scenic backgrounds are superb. Locations are all real, and the acting is uniformly convincing. If an initial viewing leaves you a tad confused, do a little reading on the period, see the film again, and enjoy it all the more.
- Good, but Often Overshawdowed or Overlooked
A bit more violent than I appreciate, but worthy of a viewing or two. Cate owns it, but the others also do well. This film is far, far, better than Shakespeare in Love, which is a vulgar, tasteless, obsurdity. Cate should have won the Oscar, no question. No offense to Gwenyth. At least Elizabeth did well in the nominations department....more info
I love this movie and watch it over and over it is done very well and a great story....more info
- Elizabethan Fantasy
There seems to be an ever-going fascination with good queen Bess these days. To me the deffinitive portraits on video were done with Glenda Jackson back in the early 1970s on BBC. The acting and attention to detail were supurb. Compared to that a movie like this comes off second or third place.
This film suffers from being over done. While Cate Blanchatte is fetching, she alone is not enough to carry a very heavy-handed production. Because of the number of events that are being condensed into a two hour production the end result is the usual montage of MTV like images that flash onto the screen. This seems to be a popular filming techneque now. Flood the viewer with a collage of images all at once so they can't think about the actual content of the film. Add to that over-powering music, much of not period I might add, and you complete the current package for today. A confused mess! Add to this that many if the actors look and act too comtemporary. We have not even gott'en into the historical inaccuracies yet! They are many and have been covered by other reviewers. I would also say that the murder of Mary of Guise is wrong, and the use of Norfolk to represent all the evil Catholics in England at the time is over-simplification. The actor who plays him is terrible. He is like some punk rocker stuffed into tights!
The film has many other problems but I shall not list them. I think the problem lies with the East Indian producer/director who does not know how to handle English history.
The recent addition Elizabeth, The Golden Age that just came out suffers from many of the same issues above, but the storyline and events are presented in somewhat clearer fashion. It would be nice if historical epics today tried to focus more on the actual events they are portraying rather than on special effects and over the top screen writing. ...more info
- It's a movie folks,not accurate history and I loved it
With the sequel just days away from opening in theatres,I revisited Shekhar Kapur's 1998 ELIZABETH starring Cate Blanchett.I loved it the two times I saw it years back, and I still believe that this is a lasting classic film to be enjoyed and savoured over and over again for its stellar performances ,cinematography,soundtrack and 2 hour length.
Any time I review an historical film,I first of all consider crucial thoughts,which are "did I enjoy the film,the screenplay,the acting,the music,the camerawork etc? And ultimately,"did the film move along?" The answer is a RESOUNDING YES to Kapur's film.Is it historically accurate?....ehh!...somewhat yes,a lot maybe,some definitely not;BUT I am rating a film,not history.Wikipedia has loads of information on all of the characters and events in this film for anyone to learn more.I will say this,that no version of The Virgin Queen's life is 100% accurate simply because not everything is known for certain involving many of the "players" in Elizabeth Tudor's Reign.So, those that like Helen Mirren,good.If you prefer Glenda Jackson's performance, magnificent.If you need historical accuracy,you best not see any of them!!! As a film, though,this ELIZABETH for style and substance,is my favorite.Cate Blanchett and the entire ensemble is first class.I was surprised to see Daniel Craig as the murderous priest.Boy, has he gone on to great success since killing off Kelly MacDonald!
I am eagerly anticipating the sequel,ELIZABETH:THE GOLDEN AGE to see Cate go after Mary Queen of Scots this time!Again,will she be beheaded with one,two or three axe swings and did a little dog run out from under her skirts??? See what I mean? Judge the film and leave history where it is much of the time...in lore,legend and apocrypha!
- Fact is stranger than Fiction
I am a fan of historical fiction, and this has to be one of the most historically inaccurate films I have ever seen! What bothers me the most is that the general public, who hasn't read the Tudor biographies like some of us have, will believe this stuff because it is their only exposure to the subject! I won't go into all the inaccuracies since other reviewers have already touched on them. Why tamper with history, when it was actually more fascinating than what was portrayed in this movie. ...more info
- A small nudge in the direction of romanticism...
And Elizabeth did whisper Robert Dudley's name on her deathbed... The movie is an imaginative interpretation of the way that things could have been...
Shekhar Kapur's film explores the instabilities of her reign, and the absolute horror and terror that surrounded the early part of her royal office without neglecting her relationship with her terminally ill sister... So it's a glimpse of her girlhood into statehood, and the shedding that occurs, with the people who expended in her life along the way...
The film shows Elizabeth growing up in an incredibly unstable, tumultuous environment... But she's an absolute survivor... Someone who has got no solid ground on which she walks... So one minute she's a bastard, the next minute she's a princess, then one moment she's an illegitimate daughter, then she's a queen... And it's a very relevant period of her life, because she was 25 when she became a female monarch...
There are four men in Elizabeth's life and all have quite different influences on what it means for a young woman to run the country so young, given that she comes to the throne under very difficult political circumstances...
There's Sir Cecil (Attenborough) who's from an older regime giving her the traditions and the conventions that are the most orthodox; Sir Francis (Geoffrey Rush) Elizabeth's great spy master, very astute, almost puritanical and rather dry bureaucrat; Robert Dudley (Fiennes) with whom the film suggests that she has quite a passionate, private relationship; and Norfolk (Eccleston), a major rival who doesn't regard that she is suitable to rule his England...
The motion picture succeeds in developing Elizabeth's change and, basically, locks off parts of herself, and dehumanizes herself in order to wield her power among men... ...more info
- Cate, oh my...............
To borrow from a previous reviewer: A movie to kill an evening with if you have one that really needs murdering.
- A really great film
I saw this movie a long time ago in the theatre with my wife and decided to pick it up when I heard there was a sequal coming, and I am not dissappointed with that decision.
The movie is really great, it has it all; murder, betrayal, empire, and Cate. Elizabethan English History is not my strong point, and I'm sure that purest will wail about the mistakes, who cares, it does make for great drama.
The version I picked up was the HD-DVD version and that was also a smart idea because you can see the effort the director and the crew put into everything from the costumes to the props. Everything is just beautiful, and the colours are amazing.
This ones a keeper....more info
- Movies vs. Documentaries
Very few historical movies are historically accurate. Who cares? That is not the point. If anyone relies on movie to get their history lessons, then they are pitiful in the first place. The primary purpose of movies is to entertain. Its likely that anyone interested in 'Elizabeth' is not the run of the mill 'Die Hard' fan to begin with, and probably has some true historical knowledge. Those seeking historical facts should visit their local library and stay away from the video store. ...more info
- Do they read history?
I have read two biographies of Elizabeth and went back recently to check some facts. The movie has Liza meeting the Duke of Anjou early in her reign. Actually she met him when she was forty five years old and I had no indication from the text that the duke was a queer cross dresser. The movie also depicts him as a drunk. During scenes of Mary Tudor's reign everything is ugly and dark. The rooms are lit with ugly short stumpy candles, the furniture is nasty. As soon as Liza comes to the throne she gets much nicer rooms to live in. All natural sunlight comes in from the ceiling, white pillars and beautiful "marble?" floors appear. Liza must have redecorated extensively. This is not Tudor architecture.
I loved this movie but I wish Directors would read books. They also portray her wearing that hard white makeup in her twenties which no portrait of her at that age can verify. She didn't do that. She didn't wear wigs presumably until about the age of forty. Grey hair or whatever prompted this change. The actor cast as Dudley looks nothing like him but Kate is the image of Elizabeth. I guess they thought the real Dudley wasn't cutey studly enough. They have a ridiculous scene of a lady in waiting dying of poisoning after trying on a dress. What? When is this recorded?
- History Brought to Life (and Death)
I first noticed "Elizabeth" during the Academy Awards for 1998. I believe "Shakespeare in Love" was a big hit that year and I passed them both off as costume dramas. I watched "Elizabeth" last night and discovered that this is NOT your traditional costume drama. It is, at times, a dark look at the intrigue of royal politics while, at other times, a bright view of a young lady coming of age in a variety of ways. The intrigue is well-presented. We don't always know exactly what's going on but, then, why should we be any different from the participants. There is enough blood and guts to suggest a warning for those in search of a romantic movie. Yet this is blood and guts with a purpose. This is England in the midst of one of its' greatest crisies and we are reminded that, with the stakes so high, the ruthlessness rose as well. Much of the history of the early reign of Elizabeth was new to me and I'm sorry to say that. We know of how she led England to its' greatest level of power but I certainly wasn't aware that it all got off to such a fascinatingly fragile beginning. I took a moment to check my old English History textbook (Willson) and found enough brief mentions of characters and events to let me know that this is a biographical movie based in fact. I won't elaborate but you will probably come to the same conclusion as I did that there were a number of poetic licenses issued in the making of "Elizabeth". I was enthralled with the way this lesser known history was presented.
The subject, of course, is in the movie's title and it is the development of this young lady that is its' crowning (sorry) achievement. Elizabeth discovers that, when you can trust no one else, you have to learn to trust yourself. This development in her is brought out in a convincing series of personal glimpses and events. I kept hoping that this was actually a three or four hour movie because I realized time was running out and I wanted to watch this development continue much further. In the end, the writer and director gave us just what we needed to realize that Elizabeth had reached the level of maturity and self-confidence that would take her into the realm of greatness. The rest, as they say, is history and one that I was pretty comfortable with. Regardless of the accuracy of every detail in the movie, "Elizabeth" gave me a greater appreciation of just who England's greatest queen really was. To have done so in such an entertaining manner was a most enjoyable icing on the cake. ...more info
- A Spectacular Spectacle
ELIZABETH is and was my introduction to director Shekhar Kapur. Boy, can this guy make a movie. Film is a medium that works via visuals, and Kapur delivers sensational vistas, landscapes, settings, and angles. There's a look and a feel of quality aesthetics in this film, which makes watching it a visually-enhancing experience.
As Kapur in the special features readily admits, this is a speculative account of the early reign of Queen Elizabeth (Cate Blanchett). Her ascension certainly came at a most turbulent time; she succeeded her very Catholic sister, "Bloody Mary," whose persecution of Protestant "heretics" was tearing Britain apart. (In fact, the film opens with a disturbing scene depicting three "heretics" being burned alive at the stake; quite the "hook" to get the viewer to pay attention.) The young queen is in dangerous waters, and turns to two men for help. One of them, Sir William Cecil (played solidly by Sir Richard Attenborough), has consistent advice: Get married, produce an heir. The other advisor, Sir Francis Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush is sensational in this brooding, almost sinister role) is a bit more practical: Do whatever it takes to keep Elizabeth in power.
To top it all off, there is the matter of Elizabeth's lover (although not proven historical fact), Robert Dudley. Played by an almost-dainty Joseph Fiennes, it becomes readily apparent young Robert will not be strong enough to handle a queen growing steadily more powerful and independent. Dudley's outcome is one of the more predictable plot lines of the film.
And as we watch, we see the young Elizabeth become hardened, more cynical; we see her forfeit her own personal life in exchange for a persona--an icon around whom her people can rally. All of this is done through the exquisite professionalism of Cate Blanchett, who much deserved her Academy Award nomination.
Other surprises in this film include a stunning Fanny Ardant, who plays Elizabeth's rival, Mary of Guise; and then there's the new James Bond, Daniel Craig, who plays a somewhat overzealous priest. The special features pale in comparison to the movie, but come on, the movie is where the rubber meets the road. ELIZABETH is a gripping, compelling, artistic period piece--a cinematic feast as rich as it is engrossing. Sign me up as a Shekhar Kapur fan.
--D. Mikels, Author, The Reckoning
- Cate? S¨¬! History? No!
Lush, well produced, beautfully filmed, visually appealing, well-acted, all of these describe "Elizabeth." "Historical" however, does not. I am very surprised at the number of people here who claim to be lovers of British history who praised the film for its accurate depiction of events. Elizabeth could certainly play the fragile, indecisive maid when she needed to do so, but fragile and uncertain she was not-- she learned hard politics from a real master, her father, Henry VIII.
Certainly fond of Lord Dudley, there is no evidence they ever had a sexual relationship. The sorry truth is, if Good Queen Bess ever had a sexual relationship it was with her abusive guardian, the husband of Queen Catherine (Parr). Elizabeth and Anjou never met, in England or elsewhere (she did later meet his brother, who came closer than other man to marrying her but of course did not succeed).
The clothing and hair styles, while deserving of notice, are largely inaccurate, in some cases, Edwardian more than Elizabethan. This is somewhat surprising given the rich and accurate store of knowledge regarding the couterie of the period.
There are numerous other points to make, but simply know this:
This is a work of fiction, based on certain historical figures and a few historical events. Watch the film and appreciate the fine acting, the beautiful settings and costumes, and the intensity and passion of the characters (who really were that proud, that devoted, and that ready to die for their various causes), but do not learn history from it. Hopefully you'll be intrigued enough to find a few good books to read and learn of it yourself-- you may be surprised that the real stories are even more arresting.
History takes place over periods of years, decades, and longer, and even significant events that unfold quickly can be awfully hard to condense into a 2 hour movie, so faulting them for inaccuracies serves little purpose; audiences should however be better trained to recognize fiction and enjoy it but not necessarily learn historical facts from it. Rather, learn about the human condition from fiction, which is the greatest purpose it serves....more info
- Poor History and a screenplay over-dramatic
I'm glad someone knows enough about English History to recognize the pure fiction of this film. But in addition to points made about historical inaccuracy, I also had to object to the ridiculous portrayal of Mary Tudor. Over-zealous and fanatic (as was a common religious stance in those times - promoted by both sides of the Protestant/Catholic conflict), she was not insane as the film makes her in the opening scenes. And throughout the film, there was this emphasis on milking the passions for all they are worth - no objectivity whatsoever. I was sorely disappointed!
If you want to get to know Elizabeth and the period in which she lived, I would recommend the superb BBC series, Elizabeth R with Glenda Jackson. And if you want even further background, look to the BBC again in the Six Wives of Henry VIII with Keith Mitchell. Tidbits can be gained as well from the movie Mary, Queen of Scots (although a few historical inaccuracies can be found in it - for example, Mary Stuart and Elizabeth never met, although it was Mary's great desire) and even another title, Anne of the Thousand Days. Those two more theatrical representations fulfill the desire for the more dramatic while still coming closer to the history of the times. This film just doesn't cut it!...more info