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Elizabeth (Spotlight Series)
Spotlight Series
Actors: Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Joseph Fiennes, Christopher Eccleston, John Gielgud
Director: Shekhar Kapur
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
R     2007     2hr 4min

Academy Award-winners Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and Richard Attenborough lead a distinguished cast in Elizabeth - the critically acclaimed epic of the Queen's turbulent and treacherous rise to power! Before the Golden ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Joseph Fiennes, Christopher Eccleston, John Gielgud
Director: Shekhar Kapur
Creators: Remi Adefarasin, David Hirschfelder
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance
Studio: Universal Studios
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/18/2007
Original Release Date: 11/22/1998
Theatrical Release Date: 11/22/1998
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 2hr 4min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French
See Also:

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Member Movie Reviews

Sarah V. from LEBANON, OR
Reviewed on 4/23/2012...
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Sylvia O. from COTTONWOOD, CA
Reviewed on 12/6/2011...
Loved this film and I am keeping it!
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Karen Dallas H. (kikkilu) from CHICAGO, IL
Reviewed on 4/24/2010...
kate blanchett, who became an overnight star by playing a seer in the movie "the gift," (lucky her!), is amazing as queen elizabeth, daughter of king henry VIII, the one that had so many wives and who had caused her mother, ann bolyn, to be executed by having her head chopped off via political and religious scheming. the succession of henry's heirs went first to his first child, mary, who had been born to henry's first (of many) wives, kathryn of avalon (spain) and daughter of queen isabel of spain, who had funded christopher columbus' journey to the americas. kathryn was clever enough to talk modestly in court when questioned and when henry had been questioned by a bishop (although i cannot remember if wolsey (? spelling ?), who appears again in this movie*) who had great power over the doings of the court. kathryn was clever because due to her modesty and humility, she was banished rather than executed--henry set her up in one of his castles, where she died a painful death from cancer (as well as suffer many privations in her lonely existence) at a young age. henry VIII actually could not, legally, kill kathryn (who had not birthed a male heir, which is what henry was after), nor could he send her back to spain, since back then, the only religion in england was catholic. you really need to know about henry himself to understand how he changed the church of england to anglican (protestant)--which allowed him, then, to DIVORCE a wife--a routine thing for him. he was forever falling in sex with the ladies in waiting to whatever queen was at henry's side, and ellizabeth I was born by ann bolyn, which i pointed out above, but you also should realize that ann was the lady in waiting to kathryn. such intrigue!

so, being that kathryn had birthed the first heir to the throne, mary, elizabeth couldn't become queen unless mary died. mary died of stomach cancer, miserably, inside of the royal palace not having had birthed an heir. if she had, the baby she had would then have become the heir to the throne (look at the bloodline of the current queen elizabeth to make heads and tails, pun intended, of all this mishigoss with the succession). next in line was elizabeth. she is not a simpleton as one might expect back then. she knew what her responsibilities as the queen were, however, the lover that she wanted turned out to already be married. the royal family of france wished to sic their son, a real dog, upon her in marriage. she saw what an overbred idiot and degenerate he was and she got rid of him. that wasn't financially prudent because then, france had a big navy and england needed it--england was then dead broke.

i think that the reason that this movie got four, instead of five, stars by the critics is because in the last quarter of the film, wolsey's* manipulations and motivations are not made clear at all, so you do not quite understand why elizabeth becomes the "virgin queen." and i do not know who succeeded elizabeth or at what age she died. it would have been another child of henry by yet another wife. he was an evil rouge, selfish and heartless. he blamed, by his deeds, his various wives for not birthing a boy, and in one case, one of them did, but the child died. henry just couldn't stand it.

*neither is it clear just what role wolsey plays in this, elizabeth's, court (as well as in mary's court). if it had been easier to understand, then you would have easily figured out why elizabeth chose never to marry.

*the reason that i myself give this film 4.5 stars is because i've done some reading about the courts of england, particularly about henry VIII and wolsey, so i had more understanding than if i had not. i cannot fault blanchett--she carried off her role splendidly. the costumes were amazing, too. i do recommend this movie, but i need to tell you that even a wikipedia article about henry VIII's court and the people that he manipulated, and how he did, as well as those that held power over him--particularly wolsey, would make it a better experience for you.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Meghan A. (bookreadera)
Reviewed on 1/19/2010...
Often a film with many awards nominations will leave me thinking "really, this is supposed to be great film?" Elizabeth left me thinking "wow, this is really good" The acting is fantastic and the costumes and sets, while not exactly beautiful, are fabulous. Being far from an expert on the time period, I can't speak to the accuracy of the story, but it is believably written and portrayed. The only thing stopping this from being a keeper is the graphic way in which the violence of the story is shown.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Elizabeth from princess to icon: One mistress and no master.
Themis-Athena | from somewhere between California and Germany | 02/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Among Great Britain's monarchs, two queens stand out in particular: Elizabeth I. and Queen Victoria. Both came to power at extremely young ages, and at times of political instability which would have set the odds of survival against any new ruler, but particularly so, against a woman. Both beat those odds in ways few people would have foreseen: They not only persevered but ruled for a nearly unparalleled long time, and during their reign achieved to both strengthen England's economy and international stance and give new direction to its society. We have long come to identify their reign as "the Victorian Age" and "the Elizabethan Age," respectively. Yet, while "Victorian England" is an expression often used synonymously with moral conservativism, Elizabeth I. fostered not only the development of science but also the theater and arts; providing fertile ground for the works of Shakespeare, Marlowe and many others. (Influenced by her husband, Queen Victoria supported the exploration of new scientific developments, but the dominant force of her formative years as a ruler was conservative prime minister Lord Melbourne, who once advised her not to read Dickens because his books were "full of unpleasant subjects.") And while Queen Victoria derived strength from her long, stable marriage to German-born Prince Albert, Elizabeth I. resisted the pressure to marry at all and became known as "the Virgin Queen."

Looking back at Elizabeth's reign, we see less a woman than an icon; the symbol of what her rule has come to stand for. Shekhar Kapur's 1998 movie explores, as the director explains in the DVD's "Making of" feature, the making of that icon; the formative processes, influences and personalities surrounding the young princess's ascent to the throne and her first years in power - and of course, at the center of it all, Elizabeth herself, magnificently portrayed by Cate Blanchett (who should have won the Academy Award for her performance). The princess, as this movie sees her, certainly knew her insecurities about her role in life and in English politics, her people's expectations, and the intrigues of her own court. But she was also, as Kapur has her affirm to her protector and spymaster Walsingham, "[her] father's daughter" - the proud, headstrong daughter of Henry VIII., who quickly learned from her mistakes and assumed true leadership early on. Having inherited a country deeply torn in religious conflict, and having barely survived the machinations of the court of her Catholic half sister and predecessor, "Bloody" Mary I., to find her, the "heretic," guilty of treason and execute her, one of Elizabeth's first acts in power was to have parliament pass the Act of Uniformity, reestablishing the Church of England formed by her father. And while she respected her Secretary of State Sir William Cecil, she eventually came to realize that his advice was overly guided by the hope that she marry and produce an heir to secure her kingdom, and she reluctantly retired him into his status as Lord Burghley.

Indeed, there was not one single man who dominated Elizabeth's life but several, and Kapur was able to secure an extraordinary cast to surround then-newcomer Blanchett. Richard Attenborough plays Sir William Cecil with a humility and quiet dignity that few besides him could have brought to the screen. Christopher Eccleston bristles as the powerful, ambitious Catholic Duke of Norfolk, that key player from the inner circle of Mary's court who retained his position after her death and became the one member of Elizabeth's council most dangerous to her reign. Joseph Fiennes reprises his role as a burning-eyed, handsome lover from the almost simultaneously released "Shakespeare in Love" (which, while a splendid movie in its own rights, eclipsed much of the limelight that "Elizabeth" would so richly have deserved), playing the man most closely romantically linked to Elizabeth, "Sweet" Lord Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, whose love for her - at least, as this movie would have it - is ultimately his own undoing. "You're still my Elizabeth," the erstwhile princess's lover insists at a ball some time after her coronation. "I am no man's Elizabeth," the queen retorts, and affirms for all the court to hear: "I will have one mistress here, and no master!"

Most impressive of all the queen's men is Geoffrey Rush's portrayal as her protector, secret advisor and supreme spymaster Francis Walsingham, the creator of what much later became Britain's MI-5, whose role Rush approached, inspired by the description Kapur had given him, much like the Hindu god Krishna, as "a very wise man who can kill people ... while smiling," as he explains in the DVD's "Making of" featurette - an ability which his young, unfaithful companion in exile learns to know as much as powerful Marie de Guise (Fanny Ardant), aunt to Elizabeth's would-be suitor Henri d'Anjou and mother of her later rival Mary of Scots; who had refused Henry VIII.'s suit remarking "I may be big in person, but my neck is small," only to find herself terminally surrendering to Walsingham's unmatched cunning.

Key to any great historical movie is the authenticity of its production design, and "Elizabeth" overflows with the rich and luxurious colors of the queen's renaissance court and its balls, gowns and pageants. But there are also the vast, high stone halls of the palace and the royal cathedral, symbolizing the perpetuity of the monarchy reestablished by Elizabeth I. At last, when contemplating a statute of the Virgin Mary, Elizabeth wonders whether, to perpetuate her reign, she must be "made of stone;" and it is again Walsingham who answers: "Aye, Madam, to reign supreme, [because] all men ... must be able to touch the divine here on earth" and as yet, "they have found nothing to replace [Mary]." And so, this movie tells us, the icon we all know was created - and like a nun married to God, a dehumanized Elizabeth reenters her council and holds out her hand to her old Secretary of State: "Observe, Lord Burghley: I am married to England!"

Also recommended:
Elizabeth I: Collected Works
The Life of Elizabeth I
Elizabeth R
Elizabeth I
The Virgin Queen
Elizabeth - The Golden Age (Widescreen Edition)
Shakespeare in Love (Miramax Collector's Series)
The Wives of Henry VIII"
Beautiful new transfer
Dustin J. Isenberg | Lancaster, PA | 09/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Being an owner of the original dvd release of Elizabeth, I wondered what the difference was compared to the oldy. Suprisingly there is a new digital transfer of the film itself that looks almost as good as high def. (almost) The transfer has livened the colors of the original dvd and is far more impressive to watch. A beautiful film by a great director as I'm sure "Golden Age" will also be. All bonus features are the same as the old version except there is a new extra long trailer going almost 6 minutes of footage from the new movie. If you want my advice, for all of you that want to see Elizabeth in a new pristine cleaned up version, this is the definitive of the latter. It's beautiful to see a dirty jewel sparkle. A great film even with it's inaccuracies because...what film really is accurate? Movies are for entertainment and my oh my does this new version entertain! If anything for all you waiting for the new movie, you can watch the trailer over and over as much as you want!"
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 08/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a magnificent film with a stellar cast giving award calibre performances. Cate Blanchett deservedly won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama. She is truly the heir apparent to Bette Davis and Glenda Jackson, both having portrayed Elizabeth I in memorable performances. Cate Blanchett now joins their ranks with her own incredible performance in that role. The movie begins in 1554, in an England that is bitterly divided on the issue of religion. Ruled by Mary Tudor, Henry the VIII's oldest daughter and a devout catholic, protestants are being burned at the stake as heretics, giving rise to Mary's popular name, "Bloody Mary". Reviled by her Spanish husband and in poor health, Mary is badgered by her advisors to do away with Elizabeth, her considerably younger, bastard half-sister. This Mary will not do, no matter how pressed. Still, Elizabeth lives her life with the sword of Damocles hanging over her head at all times. When Mary dies, Elizabeth takes the throne, no more than a mere slip of a girl wearing the crown of England. Her advisors look to guide her, and she follows their lead, until she determinedly takes control of the reins of power, and follows her own counsel with the help of her most trusted advisor, Francis Walsingham, played to cunning perfection by Geoffrey Rush. With his help, she is able to fend off the ever present threats to her hold on the throne of England, not just from her own courtiers, but from Marie de Guise, Queen of Scotland, deliciously played by Fanny Ardent. In the film one sees the transformation of Elizabeth take place. She goes from being a young woman, really no more than a girl, who is in love with Robert Dudley, the Duke of Leicester, dashingly played by Joseph Fiennes, to the commanding woman history would ultimately come to know as the Virgin Queen. Confronted cruelly with the politics of intrigue and betrayal, she learns that to stay in power and effectively lead her people, she must rule with her head and not with her heart. She succeeded brilliantly, leaving a rich legacy that would be remembered as the Elizabethan era. This film is an absolute masterpiece. While not quite historically accurate, the film is a broad overview of what happened when Elizabeth first took the reins of power. It also attempts to explain why Elizabeth I would be known as the Virgin Queen. This film is a lush and lavishly costumed medieval tapestry that is woven with great care. It is, without a doubt, a magnificent movie that will hold the viewer in its thrall. Bravo!"