21.6 C
Byron Shire
February 25, 2021

Cinema Review: Mary Queen of Scots

Latest News

Ready for Byron’s latest massive development on Jonson St?

The changing face of Byron as Gold Coast and Sydney developers move in to recreate the look and feel of the town with intense development proposals.

Other News

Editorial – A personal take on politics and media

Since its inception in 1986 by a bunch of ratbag hippy locals, The Echo has championed the voice of the afflicted, not the comfortable. That should be the aim of every media organisation.

Lessons on resilience, regeneration from Iran

Zara Noruzi is one of the special guest speakers at the Byron Shire Resilience and Regeneration Roadshow, hosted by Renew Fest and Resilient Byron.

Date change – Kerry interviews Zoe Daniel

Journalist Zoe Daniel's conversation with Kerry O’Brien regarding her new book, Trumpland, has been rescheduled.

The value of kindness taught at Wilsons Creek school

Wilsons Creek Public School has joined the Kindness On Purpose movement, which aims to teach children and teenagers how to be kind to themselves and kind to others.

Tweed mayor and rail trail

Richard White, East Ballina I watched a Facebook video of Mayor, Chris Cherry, addressing a meeting, organised by the Northern...

Lennox Head thrash Ballina at cricket

A century by Jacob Fulwood helped Lennox Head second grade cricket team to a strong win over the Ballina Bears in the Coastal League last Saturday.

Cinema has always taken liberties with historical fact. Barry Jones and similar brainiacs might take issue with this interpretation of the conflict between Elizabeth I of England (Margo Robbie) and her half-sister, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (Saoirise Ronin), but the world changes every day and with it our reading of how its machinations work. If there are details that have been fabricated in this oft-told story (did the two women really meet face to face?), they are forgivable, for what we have in director Josie Rourke’s movie is a fresh angle on the period from an unapologetically feminine perspective. A lasting impression is that this is history as seen by the ladies in waiting, which is in no way a criticism, for it is they, more than any male member of the court or close counsellor – notably William Cecil (Guy Pearce) – who heard every word whispered and every private exchange that was indulged in by their mistresses. And it is these unnamed women who are ever present throughout. Rourke presents both of her subjects in a sympathetic light that unintentionally, surely, tends to undermine their powerful feminine strengths – they rose above the patriarchy of the age but are nevertheless shown as victims of it. More so, their sexuality is given primacy in determining the political tides of the times. Mary, the Catholic, is seduced by the effete Lord Darnley – their mating includes a totally gratuitous scene in which he performs oral sex on her (why is this sort of thing necessary?) – while childless Queen Bess is seen to be envious of Mary’s fecundity. I knew nothing of the involvement in the tumult of the hateful John Knox, founder of the Presbyterian Church, nor was I aware of Mary’s brother’s duplicity. Cherry-pick what you will from the history, it is beautifully shot – the horses are fab – and, more important, in our age that is so polarised on any issue, it encourages us to regard both sides of a complex argument. 

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. John, while we always expect some historical differences, does it purport in the film that Elizabeth and Mary are half-sisters? They were cousins. Elizabeth did have an older half sister, Mary, who ruled as Mary I just before Elizabeth. Their younger half brother, Edward VI, ruled before both of them.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

TGA obstructs prescription psilocybin, MDMA

Imagine that some crazy professors convince a bunch of participants at a five-day mindfulness retreat to agree to take part in an experiment where half of them are given magic mushrooms, and half of them a placebo.

Will the Lennox Park pavilion survive?

Ballina Shire Council will today debate the future of the Lennox Park pavilion/dressing shed, which is slated for removal as part of the Lennox Village Vision concept plan.

Da mountain

Gisela Stieglitz, Wooyung There is a perfectly good bitumen road going up a rainforest gully; it doesn’t even have potholes! People went to great efforts...

Council’s power

Matthew O’Reilly I refer to Ian Pickles’ letter, titled ‘Developers’ power’ (Letters, 10 February). Generally, I must agree with most of what Ian wrote in his...