‘Mary Queen of Scots’: Off with her head and to hell with the facts (spoilers)!

‘Mary Queen of Scots’: Off with her head and to hell with the facts (spoilers)!

Spoiler alert! The following discusses the plot of the film “Mary Queen of Scots.” Stop reading now if you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want to know.

Few real-life clashes are more tailor-made for movie melodrama than the battle royal between two 16th-century queens, Elizabeth I of England and her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, who re-enact their bloody, sorry fates in “Mary Queen of Scots.” 

As royal history fans know, it will not end well for Mary Stuart: She loses her head, and Elizabeth Tudor signed the death warrant. 

This latest telling of the familiar story (now showing in New York and Los Angeles, expands to additional cities Dec. 21) is thoroughly compelling and as pro-Mary as previous films. This one, directed by Josie Rourke, stars three-time Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan (as Mary) and Oscar nominee Margot Robbie (Elizabeth).

Will the movie get the seal of approval from historians? Probably not, but keep in mind it’s tough to pack a lot of history in two hours. 

“History is written by the winners, and Mary was a loser, but she’s a winner insofar as her son ended up ruling,” says John Guy, author of “Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart,” on which the film is based. “What I set out to do is get rid of the misconceptions and re-establish the story.”

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