Teen Volunteer Review: Elizabeth, the Golden Age

Boston Public Library's teen volunteer program has gone remote! As part of this program, local high schoolers will be sharing their thoughts on books, movies, and more on our blog. Recently Deborah Adebanjo, a local junior, watched Elizabeth, the Golden Age. Check out her thoughts out the film below!

If I have to be honest, I loved "Elizabeth, the Golden Age." However, if you’re looking for a historically accurate, straight-to-the-point movie about Queen Elizabeth I’s life, this isn’t that. The movie begins by introducing us to the main obstacles in Elizabeth I’s life: King Phillip II of Spain and Mary, Queen of Scots. But those conflicts aren’t actually the main premise of the film. Instead, we get a more detailed look into Elizabeth's personal life.

We get to see her at her most vulnerable and learn about the troubles and worries associated with being the queen of a large powerful nation like England. We get a glimpse into her love life, particularly her fling with Sir Walter Raleigh and his eventual betrayal when he impregnates and secretly marries Bess, a lady in Elizabeth's court. We see her grieve and mourn as her cousin Mary is sentenced to her death by Elizabeth herself, and her Court. Mary's death made Elizabeth I realize how mortal she was despite being a queen. We also see Elizabeth as a leader who takes her monarchial role seriously and encourages her soldiers before they plunge into battle against the Spanish Armada. 

The movie was graphic and had violent parts that I had to skip since things got very bloody. It’s an explicit movie. However, there were some comedic parts to balance it out. I also liked the supernatural aspects such as the inclusion of astrology, even though it seemed kind of unnecessary. Elizabeth used astrology as a way to try to predict what would happen later on, but it really wasn’t needed in the movie. I also didn’t understand how Elizabeth I is Protestant yet believed in astrology. The movie didn't do a good job explaining that contradiction.

I loved the use of contrast and imagery in this film. Elizabeth I is portrayed as light and almost supernatural. England and her palace are bright and light. Yet Phillip II and Mary are portrayed with murkier imagery with dark clothing and surroundings. I loved the historical clothing that was used in the movie - the costumes were so beautiful. The architecture and interior were also well done.

Overall, all the dramatics made the movie feel like a melodrama more than a serious historical movie, but that made me intrigued. I haven’t watched the prequel yet to make a comparison, but Elizabeth: The Golden Age was quite entertaining.