Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
United Kingdom, 1998. PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Working Title Films, Channel Four Films. Screenplay by Michael Hirst. Cinematography by Remi Adefarasin. Produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Alison Owen. Music by David Hirschfelder. Production Design by John Myhre. Costume Design by Alexandra Byrne. Film Editing by Jill Bilcock.
Stunning costume drama concentrates on the period between Elizabeth I’s youthful coronation and her decision to become the untouchable Virgin Queen who led England to world superpower status. Cate Blanchett flawlessly navigates the character from her shaky days as a torn woman pulled in so many personal and political directions to the confident monarch who knows that to rule successfully she must be made of stone. Shekhar Kapur directs with great pictorial relish, using creative camera angles and light filters and getting pointed performances from all his actors. The only drawback to the film is a too-academic script by Michael Hirst that throws countless names out and expects viewers to know too much of the history of that particular period. That won’t preclude the great pleasure you’ll have in watching it, however. Joseph Fiennes is a sniveling annoyance as one of Elizabeth’s earliest lovers, and British comedienne Kathy Burke is an absolutely delicious fright as Bloody Mary Tudor.
Academy Award: Best Makeup
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Actress (Cate Blanchett); Best Cinematography; Best Art Direction; Best Costume Design; Best Original Score-Drama
Golden Globe Award: Best Actress-Drama (Cate Blanchett)
Nominations: Best Picture-Drama; Best Director (Shekhar Kapur)
Screen Actors Guild Award Nomination: Best Actress (Cate Blanchett)
Toronto International Film Festival: 1998