Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. United Kingdom, 1986. Capital Equipment Leasing, Paramount Pictures. Story by Chris Bryant, Screenplay by David Edgar. Cinematography by Derek V. Browne, Douglas Slocombe. Produced by Peter Snell. Music by Stephen Oliver. Production Design by Allan Cameron. Costume Design by Sue Blane, David Perry. Film Editing by Anne V. Coates.
An impressive performance by a young Helena Bonham Carter, is one of the highlights of this solid period film. She plays Lady Jane Grey, the retiring young woman who was used as a political pawn by her ambitious father to take over the throne of England. Following the death of Henry VIII’s son Edward, the seat of power, which should have gone to Henry’s staunch Catholic daughter Mary Tudor, is instead bequeathed to Jane in an effort to keep a Protestant on the throne. Her reign, at the age of 16, lasts nine days before Mary finally storms in to take over and have Jane executed as a traitor. Within this short lifetime, Jane manages to awaken to knowledge and passion, thanks to what she learns as a new queen and her forced marriage to a man (Cary Elwes) she eventually grows to love. Tragic and melancholy, the film is given intelligent direction by Trevor Nunn and a lush, authentic recreation of the period.