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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Royals, diplomats, explorers, and servants all are ambitious, competitive, and treacherous, then make speeches about national pride. Constant politics, plotting, and betrayal.
Violence & Scariness
A man has his tongue cut out (bloody mouth visible) and is beaten (brief image, mostly assailants' kicks shown, rather than his body). Torture scene features screaming and bloody bodies, as well as heads in cages (with screws designed to poke holes in the skulls). One brother attempts to assassinate the other with a knife; the attacker ends up in prison, where he appears bloodied and collapsed (the abuse isn't shown, just the effects). Assassination attempt on the queen ends with gun fired, but no hit. Execution of a traitor shows hanging of bloody body (full body shot), then cut to dangling feet. Execution of Mary Stuart shows her head on the chopping block, the executioner with ax raised, and then cuts away, to the loud sound of the blade hitting. Elizabeth slaps Bess hard. British Navy vs. Spanish Armada battle includes canons, gunfire, flaming bodies, screaming victims, and a horse leaping from a ship in slow motion into the sea. A ship loaded with explosives serves as vehicular bomb.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several scenes show cleavage, sometimes heaving, mostly encased in period bodices. Repeated references to Elizabeth's virginity (she makes one, in a joke about the name "Virginia"). Spanish ambassador accuses Elizabeth of taking "pirates to your royal bed." Complex flirtations among Elizabeth, Bess, and Raleigh feature speedy dialogue and subtle glances. Kiss between Raleigh and Bess; subsequent sex scene features nude torsos in profile, shadows, and dissolves.
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Mild language includes occasional uses of "hell" and "bastard." One muffled word could be 'f--k,' but it's very difficult to hear.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking at gatherings; Raleigh brings tobacco from the New World, saying, "You breathe its smoke: Very stimulating!" Elizabeth and Bess try smoking and cough.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this talky, artistic sequel to 1998's Elizabeth probably won't be a big draw for many kids, even older teens. That said, it liberally interprets the PG-13 rating (the original was R), since it contains some graphic, bloody violence. Images include torture, a tongue being cut out, heads in cages, beatings, shooting, hanging, beheading, and an epic sea battle. Flirtations are more intellectual than physical, though there's plenty of visible cleavage in the colorful costumes. One sex scene is glamorous and shadowy, with a brief image of a passionate embrace. Raleigh brings "natives" from the New World in face paint; though others look on them as novelties, the queen orders them treated like royal visitors. Characters drink occasionally, and the queen smokes tobacco once. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Stiff and strange, the movie is full of bravura speeches and dazzling visuals. A gun firing at Elizabeth blasts the screen away into bright white light, and she enacts her plan for the Armada on a floor map with giant gold model ships, spectacularly shot from overhead like a living chessboard. But the beauty is, at last, too ravishing. The movie feels more superficial than significant, like it's stuck behind a pane of glass.
"I pretend there's a pane of glass between me and them. They can't touch me. You should try it." When Elizabeth I (Cate Blanchett) offers this bit of advice to a nervous royal suitor, he smiles obligingly but admits he just can't manage the pretense, not being as strong, independent-minded, or self-absorbed as she is. It's close to a perfect moment in ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE, for it shows concisely the Virgin Queen's authority and loneliness, her genius and rage.
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Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate