Elizabeth

     A "costume drama," as they call them, about the beginning of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The little prologue that comes after the opening credits, which is supposed to set up the story for you by filling you in on some of that English history that you never paid attention to in school, is flashy, pretentious, and corny, and so is a lot of the film itself. I found myself laughing at the goofiness of their attempts to maintain an elevated tone while parading everybody about in those big puffy pants and ridiculous dresses. But if you can get past those pants and the overdone elements of the screenplay and camera work, you’ll find there’s actually an interesting story here with some fascinating things to say about the nature of leadership with respect to love and sexual passion. The movie’s main point seems to be that a woman cannot be a good ruler unless she gives up the emotional part of herself and becomes an untouchable goddess, a statue of a woman rather than a woman of flesh. Thus Elizabeth "becomes" a virgin to be a good Queen. Well, it’s an interesting idea, anyway. Directed by Shekhar Kapur and starring Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth, Geoffery Rush as Walsingham, and Joseph Fiennes as Robert Dudley, the Queen’s lover; interestingly enough, the latter two also appear (again in puffy pants) in Shakespeare in Love.

Jim Genzano




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