If one were to do an overview of human history, they would note that for every three or four men who sat on the throne, there is one woman who sat on the throne.
The television series Reign (2013-2017) is a loose (and I mean very loose) retelling of the story of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane). When she is a teenager, she is sent to the court of France to marry her betrothed, Francis de Valois (Toby Regbo). Along the way, she will encounter both sexual and political innuendo.
I wrote about this series back in 2014, defending its merits. Looking back, I can now see the major flaws in this program. It is nothing but a teenage soap opera set in the 16th century. In the beginning, the initial draw was Megan Follows (Catherine de’ Medici). Her portrayal of Anne Shirley in the Anne of Green Gables series from the 1980s and 1990s is still my favorite version of the character.
But even that was not enough to keep me watching to the very end.
Seeing a woman in the halls of power is relatively new in the course of human history. At best, in the past, women have been help-meets, wives and servants. At worst, they are disposable to relegated the background of history.
The new movie, Mary Queen of Scots (based on the book Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy) takes place in the 16th century, when two women ruled England and Scotland concurrently. Elizabeth I of England (Margot Robbie) has successfully ruled England without questions of her legitimacy to the throne. The only issue that she is without a husband and a child. Her cousin, Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) has recently taken her place as Queen of Scotland after the passing of her first husband. She knows that she has to marry and bring a male heir into the world, but she is not willing to marry for the sake of politics.
Both Mary and Elizabeth wish for peace between their kingdoms, but the men who council both Queens are not content to bow before women, nor are they willing to let two women maintain a political friendship. Around them, the seeds of discord are being sewn. Will Mary and Elizabeth rule their respective countries in peace or will the interference of the men around them result in upheaval and violence?
It takes a certain kind of BPD (British Period Drama) to appeal to a wide range of audience members. While Mary Queen Of Scots falls squarely within the BPD genre, it has a specific message that appeals to a certain kind of audience member. While I very much appreciate the timely message of women in power and how we react/treat them, this film is a bit on the heavy side when it comes to the narrative.