Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Movies, Drama
3 out of 5 stars
When last we left Queen Elizabeth I (Blanchett), she’d redeclared herself a virgin and enacted a Corleone-style housecleaning of traitors. Shekhar Kapur’s sequel to his own Elizabeth (1998) picks up the thread three decades later, as the monarch faces more problems: Spain threatens war, assassins lurk everywhere, and a wave of support for putting Scotland’s Mary Stuart on the throne is cresting. To complicate matters, hot-to-trot explorer Sir Walter Raleigh (Owen) stirs up Her Majesty’s hormones with offers of naming his recent find “Virginia” after her. (“What would you call it if I marry?” she asks. “Conjugia?” Lizzy, you’re such a riot!) But who has time for romance when there’s an empire to defend?

Like its predecessor, The Golden Age gives what’s usually Masterpiece Theatre material the blockbuster treatment; even banal conversations are filmed with bombast. Maintaining power is usually less inherently dramatic than learning its ropes, however, and this chapter of the queen’s life yields slightly diminished returns compared with her rise to glory. Still, Blanchett imbues this historical romp with a huge spark. Whether she’s blessing babies or delivering a St. Crispin’s Day–like speech in full armor, the actor makes you feel as if this is a role she was bred, if not born, to play.


Release details

Cast and crew

Shekhar Kapur
William Nicholson, Michael Hirst
Cate Blanchett
Clive Owen
Geoffrey Rush
Abbie Cornish
Samantha Morton
Rhys Ifans
Jordi Mollà
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