OK. A lot to unpack here if I can unpack it all. Which I doubt. Anyway, Mary Queen of Scots (2018) I saw this version when it came out this past December. I will state for the record that I liked it. It was made by the same company that made ELIZABETH (Kate Blanchett) and Elizabeth The Golden Age. So, for scenery and costume, and in my opinion - even the acting - was great. I enjoyed it. What I enjoyed most was that it was a very diverse film, using many nationalities and people of color in this film. I was very happy to see that - as Hollywood is taking a beating for their lack of diversity in films, and they seem to be trying to resolve that - going forward - and it was nice to see that attempt in this film.
Now, one (well not just one) of the top reviewers ripped the movie apart for all of its historical inaccuracies. Well, one of the top reviewers is telling the truth about that. There were a lot of historical inaccuracies with the film ... BUT, I want to say that ... it would really be a good idea if one did some research or knew something about Mary Queen of Scots before one sees this movie, because it does not provide one with a lot of information. Now, having said that, I view most movies like this as ... lets say ... Cliff notes, or highlights. The movie would go on forever if they tried to put everything in it that actually historically happened ... and American audiences (and probably European audiences as well) are not going to sit through a four or five hour historical drama. We barely want to sit through 2 hours, so, the only choice film makers have really is to put in the highlights of these historical films ... and if one wants to know more, or want all the facts, then one will either have to watch a documentary, or take a history class and do some studying. I do admit, I did not know a whole lot about Mary Queen of Scots before I went to see the film. I'm an old movie buff and a frustrated historian, so I own the Katherine Hepburn version ... and I couldn't get through it. I didn't like it, I didn't understand it, and I felt that it's more convoluted than even this one is. There is a series on Netflix about her called REIGN ... and ... I watched a couple of episodes of that too and I couldn't get into it. I think for me, I just found Mary Queen of Scots story difficult to understand. I knew as much about her story as it related to Elizabeth. I've seen most of the movies about Elizabeth, including the PBS series Elizabeth R (an amazing series), and none of them go into great depth about Mary Queen of Scots, but why should they, these drama's are about Elizabeth, not Mary Queen of Scots. So I never really tried to find out more than what I was being showed in the different versions of Elizabeth. I even watched Glenda Jacksons film version of Mary Queen of Scots that she did shortly after Elizabeth R ... to no avail. So, after seeing this 2018 version, it inspired me to do some real research on Mary Queen of Scots - because this movie really intrigued me.
I think for me, one of the biggest things to understand first off is the lineage. Mary Queen of Scots grandmother was one of Henry the 8ths surviving sisters. Her name was Margaret. Henry's sister married one of the Kings of Scotland and had a couple kids. Five to be exact. One of the kids is named Margaret after her - and her son is Darnly - and another kid James 5th was Mary Queen of Scots dad. So that means Margaret and James are 1st cousins to Elizabeth and Mary Tudor. Which means, Mary Queen of Scots and Darnly are Elizabeth and Mary Tudors 2nd cousins. So, why is this important to know? Well, because it plays into "why" Mary Queen of Scots supposedly had a claim to Elizabeths crown. Its my understanding that Henry 8th excluded his sisters line (all of his sisters that lived) from the succession. So Parliament would not have allowed Mary Queen of Scots to ever ascend to the English throne anyway. Mary and Darnly (who were 1st cousins and married each other) were 2nd cousins to Elizabeth and Mary Tudor. Not even first cousins ... so to me (and I could be wrong) it's not direct. Then one throws in the whole Protestant / Catholic controversies, and it's all one big mess.
So, to conclude this, it's my opinion that most women of the ancient world were pawns for men to use and abuse - and probably no one more so than Mary Queen of Scots - well, maybe Lady Jane Grey, but ... I've read some opinions of Mary Queen of Scots as being dumb or stupid. I don't think she was dumb, she definitely had an upbringing and education far beyond most women of her time and period. I think she didn't embrace the issues that were happening around her during her time or understand the politics thereof. I think that she was used and manipulated by the men of her period, including the men in her own family, and in my opinion I'm not really sure she understood "the game". Elizabeths upbringing was in sharp and extreme contrast to Mary's, and in my opinion I believe that made Elizabeth "more ready" to be the queen that she was ... and ultimately why Mary Queen of Scots ended up headless like she did.