(2018) 124 mins
The ambition and the betrayal of Mary Queen of Scots is brought vividly to life in this rousing political melodrama about the contrasting fates of two very different queens.
Saoirse Ronan is on savagely strong form as Mary Stuart, the eponymous heroine who, as the film begins (in 1561) has returned from Europe with flawless French, some progressive ideas (she believes in freedom of religious expression and in fluid sexual identities) and a claim to the thrones of Scotland and England.
Ronan dominates the screen from the start (a huge lens-hugging close-up), her eyes ablaze with fervour and her face luminescent with self-belief.
With an early life of Catholic French experience behind her (as a former queen consort of France), Mary wants to bring some canny European liberation to stuffy Protestant Britain.
The Guardian: "A note-perfect performance from the three-time Oscar nominee charges a darkly compelling, if factually questionable, 16th-century retelling." (4 stars)
The Telegraph: "Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan butt heads in a thrilling drama of 16th century statecraft." (4 stars)
The Times: "In another year, in another awards season, without that other royal drama (The Favourite) in the running, this might have been a trophy-grabbing behemoth (it has been nominated for a modest three Baftas). For now it arrives as bravura screen biography of the finest kind." (4 stars)