Maria Stuart is one of the most famous monarchs in Scotland and Great Britain due to the numerous artistic depictions of her life story. In the latest theatrical version, Maria Stuart, Queen of Scotland by director Josie Rourke, who is making her film debut with the historical drama. Embodies Saoirse Ronan (Ladybird) the young monarch and gives her a portrayal of a proud and intelligent woman who tries to assert herself against patriarchy and the church. The film, which was released on November 15, 2018, will celebrate its free TV premiere on Vox on March 27.03. Reason enough for us to take a closer look at the latest film adaptation of the historical material.

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland after a script by Beau Willimon, which in turn is based on the book Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart based by John Guy. Focuses on the phase of life of the young Queen, which she spent in Scotland. In the first scene you can see Maria Stuart kneeling on the scaffold with a proud and unbroken gaze. A perfect symbol for Saoirse Ronan's portrayal of the young queen, who stands up for her convictions until the end and does not give in. Anyway, the main actress is optically optimally cast. Thanks to make-up and the clothes of designer Alexandra Byrne, she looks very similar to original portraits of Mary Queen of Scots. But her acting performance is also outstanding and is rounded off by carefully considered gestures and facial expressions.

Arrival in Scotland

The scenery changes with an elegant transition and you can now see a young one Mary Queen of Scots kneel on the Scottish coast. After the sudden death of her first husband Franz II the King of France. She returned to Scotland at the age of 18 to take over the business of government from her half-brother James Stewart (James McArdle) and to claim her right to the Scottish throne. In doing so, she is quickly confronted with political intrigues and patriarchal structures. Because their male advisors are not enthusiastic about being ruled by a woman and mainly pursue their own interests.

In addition, there is the religious conflict between Protestants and Catholics that prevailed in the 16th century. In one of the first scenes after her arrival, Mary Stuart gets into a conflict with representatives of the Protestant Church. Because as an avowed Catholic she proclaims to respect all beliefs of her subjects. But refuses to convert to Protestantism himself. This fuels the Protestant Church's fear of being influenced by the Pope. The priest John Knox embodied by David Tennant (Dr. Who), takes this as an opportunity to incite against the young queen. From his pulpit, the wonderfully unsympathetic figure railed against Maria Stuart and did everything to incite the common people against her.

The film knows how to combine the themes of patriarchy and church into one storyline. Which runs through the entire film, but especially determines the first half and ends in the rebellion of Maria's half-brother. Even if this is broken up quickly and unsuccessfully in the film. Has a strong influence on the further action and ensures a credible character development.

Young woman and proud queen

In the first third of the film in particular, Maria Stuart's youth is often taken up. Saoirse Ronan understands wonderfully between the portrayal of a young and inexperienced woman. Which is almost a girl. As well as changing the embodiment of the proud and strict queen who tries to assert herself over her male advisors. The girlish portrayal is particularly shown in scenes with Maria Stuart's maidservants. Here the young women giggle and giggle and talk about topics away from the political stage.

The youthfulness and naivety also leads to the hasty marriage with Lord Henry Darnley (Jack Lowden) in which the young queen falls head over heels in love. This expression of youthful naivety provides the impetus for another important storyline surrounding the unhappy marriage to Lord Darnley. Jack Lowden (Dunkirk) embodies a young and arrogant nobleman with his portrayal. Who is convinced of himself and therefore pursues high ambitions.

On the other hand, the young monarch feels the pressure and responsibility of government affairs at a very young age (before she even arrived in Scotland). This means that she has to act cool and prudent in order not to let her own weaknesses become apparent. Saoirse Ronan manages the balancing act between these two sides of the figure wonderfully, without one of the portrayals appearing excessive. This gives the figure of Maria Stuart even more credibility.

Maria Stuart and Queen Elizabeth I - The story of two strong women

Another important aspect that runs like a red thread through the film. Is the ambivalent relationship between Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth I played by Margot Robbie (Birds of Prey: The Emancipation of Harley Quinn). While the two queens fundamentally prefer a peaceful solution, they must also pursue the interests of their advisors and also pursue their own goals. Mary Stuart sees herself as the rightful heir to the throne of England, which Elizabeth cannot accept. This repeatedly leads to conflicts and skirmishes between England and Scotland. However, these are only addressed in the film and not shown.

Overall, military conflicts in the film are only discussed in dialogues, and only the rebellion of Maria's half-brother is staged. The film's strength lies more in depicting intrigues at court than in depicting battles. But this is exactly what Mary Queen of Scots Queen of Scots focuses on. Which he succeeds thanks to a good, sometimes great ensemble of actors.

The relationship between the two queens ultimately culminates in a meeting together. After exchanging only letter dialogue throughout the film, the two share what is probably the film's best scene. In a secluded wash house, the two meet in conspiracy between linen towels and curtains. In the process, two women meet who, at the end of the film, are marked by similar and yet different circumstances. On the one hand, Elizabeth, who covered her smallpox-scarred face with layers of makeup and gave up everything to remain in power. Even your own beliefs and your femininity. "I'm more man than woman now, the throne made me that." On the other hand, Maria, who even at the end of the film still exudes natural beauty and an indomitable will. Who holds on to her convictions until the end and is even ready to die for it.


Mary Queen of Scots, Queen of Scotland, is a historical drama, which takes smaller artistic liberties in the implementation of the facts. The focus of the film is on the staging of political intrigues and is partly reminiscent of a soap in a historical guise. The performance of the actors is particularly noteworthy, especially the two actresses Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, who act at Oscar level. The film is rounded off by Alexandra Byrne's costumes that match each scene. As well as the background music from Max Richter.

Maria Stuart, Queen of Scotland - BluRay