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Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

Queen Elizabeth I is known for being powerful and witty and possessing a terrible temper. As audiences have become particularly critical of female characters in recent history, it can be difficult to paint a picture of these women (especially those based on actual people) that large-scale audiences are on board with, creating quite the challenge for director, Shekhar Kapur, and writers, William Nicholson and Michael Hirst. While it appears that, overall, Kapur, Nicholson and Hirst depicted Elizabeth in a way that would sit well with most audiences there were occasions in which she was shown as overly emotional and somewhat vindictive. They certainly bounce back and forth in regard to her personality, however, as a whole, Elizabeth is shown as a headstrong individual who--for the most part--had the support of her people. Her character is incredibly interesting and one that, even with her flaws and her status, is enjoyable and relatable. Her character development was the most important part of the film. The writers and director smoothly show her transition from level-headed, saint-like queen to the fractured, frantic woman that she became towards the end of her reign. Even though Elizabeth was the most important part of the film, it was the choices that Kapur made when directing this film that made it successful. Timepieces, such as this, can be difficult to present to the world in an effective manner. Through the sets, the costumes and the casting choices, Kapur successfully presented a story that was captivating and was tremendously accurate. Many films, depending on the country in which it is released, tend to stick with one language, making it more accessible to its viewers. Kapur made a smart decision when choosing to use both English and Spanish in the film as it made the scenarios in the film more believable and historically accurate. Seemingly, the film’s only shortcoming was the depiction of Elizabeth versus the Spanish Armada. Being one of the more notable events in Elizabeth’s (and England’s) history, this event should have been given significant screen time. This, ultimately, did not ruin the film, but should have been more heavily considered when writing the script. While one choice had no bearing on the film, it was a strong message to use a picture of Blanchett as Elizabeth in battle for propaganda for the film. It shows how people, in general, viewed the real life queen and how the crew in charge of creating this film wanted Elizabeth to be depicted. Elizabeth’s story, her personality, her close personal issues and how she ultimately led England to peace were presented beautifully to viewers in this film. It was true to who she was as a person, making this biography one of the best I’ve seen in some time.



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