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Elizabeth: The Golden Age


Year: 2007 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Director: Shekhar Kapur

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Clive Owen, Samantha Morton

In Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Cate Blanchett makes a commanding return to the role of Queen Elizabeth I. Set in the ‘Golden Age’ of her reign, the film spans a key time in English history, as Protestant England faces the invasion of the Armada of Philip II (played by Jordi Mollà) of Spain.

While the Queen is again faced with ongoing pressure at court to choose a suitor, the growing threat from a politically and religiously polarised Europe dominates the plot. Intrigues and a plot to assassinate the Queen lead to the execution of Mary Queen of Scots, and in response Catholic Spain launches a full scale war with England.

Elizabeth must also face challenges on a personal front, as she develops feelings for the charismatic Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen), despite promising her body and soul to England as the country’s ‘Virgin Queen’. Owen is undeniably magnetic in the role of the roguish Raleigh, whose honesty and interest in exploration and adventure - away from suffocating life at court- intrigues the Queen. After encouraging an intimacy between Raleigh and Bess (Abbie Cornish), her favourite lady in waiting, Elizabeth is tortured by the growing closeness between the pair.

Technically superb, the film’s impressive sweeping settings and rich outfits are a visual delight. The vibrant costumes and wigs of Elizabeth are in themselves a force, and the beautiful scenes of court in the sixteenth-century England do not betray themselves as being inauthentic. The powerful images of royalty and warfare in the film are greatly aided by a strong soundtrack. Some may feel the dramatic licence taken in transforming historical fact into Hollywood plot feels at times unnecessary and laboured. However, it is Blanchett’s masterful portrayal of Elizabeth, in which she manages to convey both the strength and vulnerability of the female monarch, which proves to be the most commanding element in the film. Dominating the screen, the iconic image is of Elizabeth I, and it resonates long after the film’s end.

Cassandra Scott

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Screenings of this film:

2007/2008 Spring Term (35mm)
2007/2008 Spring Term (35mm)