Mary Queen of Scots

2018, Drama/Biography, 2h 4m

289 Reviews 2,500+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Mary Queen of Scots delivers uneven period political thrills while offering a solid showcase for the talents of its well-matched leads. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Queen of France at 16 and widowed at 18, Mary Stuart defies pressure to remarry. Instead, she returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne. But Scotland and England fall under the rule of the compelling Elizabeth I. Each young Queen beholds her sister in fear and fascination. Rivals in power and in love, and female regents in a masculine world, the two must decide how to play the game of marriage versus independence.

Cast & Crew

Saoirse Ronan
Mary Stuart
Margot Robbie
Queen Elizabeth I
Jack Lowden
Lord Darnley
Joe Alwyn
Robert Dudley
Guy Pearce
Sir William Cecil
Gemma Chan
Bess of Hardwick
Martin Compston
Earl of Bothwell
Brendan Coyle
Earl of Lennox
Ian Hart
Lord Maitland
Adrian Lester
Lord Randolph
James McArdle
Earl of Moray
Liah O'Prey
Mary Livingston
Andrew Rothney
Prince James
Beau Willimon
Screenwriter
Tim Bevan
Producer
Amelia Granger
Executive Producer
Liza Chasin
Executive Producer
Kate Pakenham
Executive Producer
John Mathieson
Cinematographer
Chris Dickens
Film Editor
Max Richter
Original Music
James Merifield
Production Design
Alexandra Byrne
Costume Designer
Alastair Coomer
Casting
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News & Interviews for Mary Queen of Scots

Critic Reviews for Mary Queen of Scots

All Critics (289) | Top Critics (76) | Fresh (180) | Rotten (109)

  • It's a shame that everything collapses when the queens finally meet in a sequence that has all the heft of a gauzy Chanel fragrance spot.

    February 21, 2020 | Full Review…
  • In spite of being handcuffed by uninspired storytelling, [Ronan and Robbie] excel in communicating strength, vulnerability and isolation as two monarchs ruling in a man's world.

    July 29, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Few movies make a better case for reexamining the patriarchal historical truths we've come to accept than the impassioned, intricate Mary Queen of Scots.

    February 7, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The two-hour-long film does require patience. But there is enough juice here to keep you hooked.

    February 2, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • This meditation on femininity and power, sexuality and independence, solidarity and rivalry, was directed by Josie Rourke, a woman - and it (...) shows.

    July 30, 2021 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Mary Queen of Scots earns points for its compelling story and actors who know how to play their parts to the utmost.

    April 14, 2021 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Mary Queen of Scots

  • Mar 14, 2019
    While more effective when focusing on the royal intrigue than when trying to create a forced parallel between the two queens (in fact, the whole subplot involving Queen Elizabeth could be easily removed), this is a decent period drama that comes together quite well in the end.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 27, 2019
    Even if the final 10 minutes are quite compelling, the rest of the movie isn't much more than a elaborately costumed tawdry melodrama.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 19, 2019
    Thinking about them just in terms of their visual appearnce, Saoirse Ronan probably should have played Queen Elizabeth I instead of Mary, and Margot Robbie probably should have played Not In This Movie. Perhaps it could have performed better, had it not come out the same year as both Outlaw King and The Favourite, as its content lies somewhere between the two, but its quality pales to either.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 11, 2019
    By no means a masterpiece, Mary Queen of Scots is an imperfectly paced, straightforward, and entertaining historical biopic of the kind that Hollywood used to crank out in previous decades. Movies centering around Tudor history have always been a mixed bag. For every Anne of the Thousand Days and A Man For All Seasons, you get The Other Boleyn Girl. Premium television appears to be the route to go for this kind of material these days, but occasionally a small budgeted picture such as this can eke out a small victory. Make no mistake. Mary Queen of Scots is the kind of period drama that critics dismiss, and general audiences ignore, but for different reasons. We have characters hitting the beats and bullet points of their historical counterparts, time displacement to fit a narrative, riders on horseback delivering messages, PG-13 sex scenes, and the usual gamut of British Commonwealth actors filling in as the minor cast. The reason to be here is our two main leads. Saoirse Ronan puts in a valiant effort as the titular doomed Queen. We can split hairs over whether or not Mary had a French accent or we can acknowledge that Ronan brings the haughty feistiness and naivete that historical Mary was said to possess. Margot Robbie is on fire these days and so is her Elizabeth I. She only appears in around a quarter of the picture, but she cuts a deep impression. The film posits a deep respect and admiration between the two feuding queens, which some have described as feminist. I will not evaluate that, but I usually subscribe to the idea that Elizabeth viewed Mary as either a threat or a pawn depending on the moment, as all Tudor monarchs viewed their rivals. That being said, I enjoyed the deviation, even if we got the overused inaccuracy of the two meeting in person in an abandoned shed, as ALL of these movies and shows tend to do. These two actresses are delightful to watch and you will put up with this movieâ(TM)s pedestrian storytelling to see more of them. Mary Queen of Scots does not add much to the medium of cinema, as the risquà (C) and avant-garde The Favourite managed to accomplish, but it succeeds as a middle-of-the-road biopic, ready-made for afternoon television and Netflix dates.
    Joshua S Super Reviewer

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