Her advisers (including Sir William Cecil, superbly played by Richard Attenborough) beg her to marry any one of her would-be suitors to stabilize England’s empire. No matter that she already has a lover. The passionate Robert Dudley (Joseph Fiennes) is married, however, and shows he cannot stand up to the growing strength of the Queen.
With the help of her aide Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush), Elizabeth strikes against her enemies before they get to her first. But her rise ultimately entails rejecting love and marriage to redefine herself as the indisputable Virgin Queen. Cate Blanchett’s Oscar-nominated performance as the naive and vibrant princess who becomes the stubborn and knowing queen is both severe and sympathetic.
Her ethereal, pale beauty is equal parts fire and ice, her delivery of such lines as “There will be only one mistress here and no master!” expressed with command rather than hysterics. As striking as Blanchett’s performance is the film’s lavish and dramatic production design.
The cold, dark sets paired with the lush costuming show the golden age of England’s monarchy emerging from the Middle Ages. Rich velvet brushes over the dank stones while power is achieved at any price, and with such attention to physical detail, Elizabeth fully immerses you into its compelling chronicle of pioneering feminism and revisionist history.
Director: Shekhar Kapur
Year of Release: 1998
Character to watch: Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the movie.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?