Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Elizabeth: The Golden Age


Woman, warrior, Queen.

Reprising her role from 1998's Elizabeth is Cate Blanchett, as Queen Elizabeth I. This historical epic finds the Queen growing keenly aware of the changing religious and political tides of late 16th Century Europe. Her rule is challenged by the Spanish army, led by King Philip II (Jordi Molla) - determined to restore England to Catholicism.... More

Preparing for war, Elizabeth tries to balance ancient royal duties with the slimy underbelly of her monarchy: traitors and assassination plots. She also finds in herself an unexpected vulnerability as she falls for seafarer Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen). Unable to pursue the romance, the Queen encourages her lady-in-waiting Bess (Abbie Cornish), to befriend Raleigh and keep him near. But this strategy forces Elizabeth to observe their growing intimacy. Also starring Geoffrey Rush as her trusted advisor, Sir Francis Walsingham.Hide

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Flicks Review

A visually stunning historical extravaganza that ends up feeling a bit light due to an overly saccharine storyline.

As an exercise in style over substance, Elizabeth: The Golden Age impresses. Every frame is filled with either a) a beautiful costume; b) a beautiful person; c) a beautiful castle; or d) a beautiful beam of sunlight slanting down at a beautiful angle. What it lacks, however, is a sense of gravity, or something to give it any kind of dramatic weight beyond a swelling orchestral score or a shouting lady.

It is, of course, one of the most visually exquisite films of the year - at times ridiculously so. Vibrant colours burst from the screen. Pinks, golds, purples, light greens, dark greens, to name but a few. The climactic scenes of the Spanish Armada are mind-blowingly beautiful – orange firelight bounces off the dark grey stormclouds above and the turquoise ocean below. And then a horse jumps overboard and begins to swim through the oily swell, and the audience gasps, and… and…

And we realise that this is all a bit silly, really. Was Queen Elizabeth actually there on the cliffs, rallying her troops on horseback as the Spanish fleet burned before her? Well, no. And she probably didn’t do a lot of things that the filmmakers would lead us to believe. This is an attractive and romantic repackaging of history. Not dry at all, but maybe a little too wet.

Romance fans will be satisfied by the performances of the leads. Clive Owen is all chest-hair and swagger as Sir Walter Raleigh, a piratey scallywag who’s just returned from the New World with potatoes and tobacco (that’s America, not the local supermarket). Cate Blanchett is very strong as the Queen, who has aged since the 1999 film and is now a middle aged career-woman. The central concern of the film seems to be that the Virgin Queen does not need a man or children in order to be fulfilled. She has her career. But in a film so concerned with superficial image, that theme is a little hard to buy.

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 8 ratings, 8 reviews
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BY Brian1 superstar

What great divergence in opinion about this film.
Wouldnt go so far myself, eitherway.
Thought it moderately capitivating, some good acting, costumes etc, but would like to have thought it carried a high level of historical accuracy.

Is so much violence necessary - I would have enjoyed the film more had I not spent much of the time with closed eyes and blocked ears. That period was dark enough without surfacing all the dreadful torcher that took place!


Felt the film seemed to be very lack lustre just couldn't connect.

Stunning costume and amazing special effects. But I have to say the storyline is boring. It feels like something straight out of a history textbook. No much substance.

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The Press Reviews

35% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • BBC

    It's a wonderfully seductive, grandiose, unashamedly operatic portrayal of Queen Elizabeth's finest hour, and it's even more rousing because of the chinks already exposed in her armour. Kapur plays up every high note with arresting imagery that wouldn't be out of place in a 16th century royal portrait. Throw away the history books and behold the majesty. Full Review

  • Over-indulgent and melodramatic, as is the nature of artistic mythmaking, The Golden Age will beguile and repel in equal measure. The performances are supreme, although some viewers may struggle to reconcile the director’s epic intentions. Full Review

  • Where Kapur's first Elizabeth was cool, cerebral, fascinatingly concerned with complex plotting, the new movie is pitched at the level of a Jean Plaidy romantic novel. Full Review

  • This is a cold film that is filled with passion and anguish but it fails to stir any real emotion - just as Elizabeth keeps a certain distance from her subjects, <em>Elizabeth: The Golden Age</em> keeps a certain distance from its audience. Full Review

  • [Historical] inaccuracy isn't the biggest issue here. It's simply that Kapur, once again, has taken a story with plenty of juice and bled it into something pale and limp. Full Review

  • All in all, Elizabeth The Golden Age is a lousy film with some great trappings. In a comfy seat, with a glass of sav', and a few friends to have a laugh with, you could do a lot worse... Full Review

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