March 4th, 2019

I had heard mixed reviews about Mary Queen of Scots, and it’s one of the reasons that I decided to wait this long to see it.   When I saw the trailers, I thought that a film with Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan, about Queen Elizabeth would be fascinating.   I knew that the producers got the Mary Queen of Scots story wrong in Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth.   I later read A Column of Fire by Ken Follett and it shed more light on this period of time in England, and how Mary was kept in England but kept basically under house arrest for 19 years.   So she went in a young woman, and came out much older and in worse health.   Stones castles will do that in the 1500s.    The feedback on the film was that it was too slow, and confusing as to who was fighting whom.   There were endless scenes of horses riding back and forth.   So in short, it wasn’t very compelling.   I can see where that comes from.   Still in the age when women were more than second class citizens, this story shows two independent minded and strong willed women who fought back hard against the traditions.   The men all mill about and complain about being controlled by women, and looking to quickly marry these women off to someone who they can control better.   It wasn’t going to happen.   Elizabeth was married to her throne and her position, while Mary was an early widow and then married but found ways to turn the table on her man.   But in the end it was a fatal flaw that, like in most Shakespearean tragedies takes down the main character.   So too in this story.   Mary even when put in a precarious position, of looking for assistance, was incapable of being able to be humble and take a perceived lower station.   In the end it was surprising to see Ronan looking every bit the same as in the beginning taking her punishment.   I also will point out that at times the male combatants were all dressed the same and fighting one another and it became difficult to tell them apart.  I think that was the point with the Scots battling one another when they had bigger enemies to address.  As an aside I will state that Hollywood will be hard pressed to make Margot Robbie look any worse than she does.   I never knew that Elizabeth suffered from the pox, and it took a toll on her physical appearance.   So despite not loving this, I was glad that I saw it.   I think Ronan is making good choices for her career, even those films like On Chesnil Beach where she isn’t in all the local cineplex bunkers.   She shows a great range of emotion and convinces you of what her character is experiencing.    So if you like her, then check it out.

After having read an article on rogerebert.com about about who will won, who should win and who should have been nominated:

https://www.rogerebert.com/festivals-and-awards/oscar-predictions-2019-who-will-win-who-should-win-and-who-should-have-been-nominated

From this article was Toni Collette in Hereditary which I knew I had seen on Netflix.   So it was time to check it out.  This is NOT a movie for the feint of heart.  It is a psychological thriller in every sense of the word.   It has a remarkable screen play and non-traditional story.   It starts off simple enough with a family of four, addressing the death of Grammy (Mom’s Mom) where Toni Collette plays the Mom.   Alison had provided me with a review which I re-read and think it very well described what happens from the plot.  It can’t be captured in a few sentences of a review.   It could take many, many pages to actually write out in a way that is understandable.   There are moments of utter shock, where at that moment I had to text out!!   These are the “holy shit” moments where you are not believing what you are seeing.   Toni Collette plays unhinged as well as anyone, with a woman on verge of a breakdown.   And her suffering husband Gabriel Byrne can only watch from the front row.   To what end are you prepared to go to protect your family and your children?    There are moments of raw emotion and you can feel the hurt and suffering.   It was a work out.   And it will stay with you.   It will stay with me to the point where I know I need to watch it again, and see how the puzzle pieces come together.  Because it does come together in a way that the closing 30 minutes is just not capable of being described.  As I watched I wondered what the heck the title had to do with anything.   Then again, it comes together.  If this isn’t your genre then stay away.   If you like a good scare, and a mental challenge, you will likely enjoy this a great deal.   I used to say that there haven’t been many really good horror movies since The Exorcist, which I still regard as the height of the craft (And I don’t mean serial killer teenage hack and slash films (Friday 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street et el)).   But A Quiet Place and now this would be regarded by me as quality additions to the genre.   They are welcome.

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