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Parents' Guide to

Mary Queen of Scots

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Great star performance in sometimes violent historic drama.

Movie R 2018 125 minutes
Mary Queen of Scots Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 18+

Historically Anaemic

It lost me when Mary, half French, and raised in the French court from a very young age, spoke with a Scottish accent. Mary and Elizabeth never spent any time together, and I won't even bother with the other historical innacuracies. These types of movies are great for what they are, fiction, but when they are portrayed as historical, they cross the line into unacceptable. Don't brain wash your kids with falsehoods, take them to a good historical documentary instead, one without all the gratuitous sex.

This title has:

Too much sex
age 13+

It's good show

It's good for ages 13+ I think!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (6 ):

Director Josie Rourke's debut feature benefits from feminist themes, laudable performances by Ronan and Robbie, and beautiful production design, but the film is also long -- and feels it. Rourke is the artistic director of Britain's prestigious Donmar Warehouse theater, and it's easy to see the influence of the stage in Mary Queen of Scots. The movie feels Shakespearean at times, with its court intrigue, romantic dalliances, and impassioned monologues. And Ronan, one of the most versatile and gifted actresses of her generation, is well-cast and surrounded by talented supporting actors.

But good performances alone don't make a movie great. There's not much humor here, and the pacing can be so uneven that it crosses the line between contemplative into just plain slow. The big scene in the third act when the two queens finally face off is well-intentioned in its artistry, but it takes a while to get to the payoff: a heated exchange between Mary and Elizabeth, both of whom seem to wish they weren't beholden to the powerful men in their inner circles. This encounter supposedly didn't take place in real life, but it's the one scene audiences will be waiting for, so it's hard to fault Rourke for including it, imagined or no. While Mary Queen of Scots isn't nearly as memorable as The Favourite, as costume dramas go, it's worth seeing for the leading performances.

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