MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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Is the worst thing about Mary Stuart that she is a woman, or that she is a Papist? I speak of how she is seen in the eyes of the men who are doing their damnedest, in Mary Queen of Scots, to keep her from usurping Elizabeth I from the English throne in the mid 16th century. And naturally, this is a trick question: they hate and fear her for both reasons. They aren’t too crazy about Elizabeth, either, what with her also being female.

You don’t need a degree in English or Scottish history to appreciate that what looks like (and is!) pretty thrilling movie-movie internecine spycraft and occasionally outright warfare between the two thrones — Mary’s in Scotland and Elizabeth’s in England — is, in fact, the undermining of two reasonable women trying to unite their nations, their efforts thwarted by men with their own agendas and fueled by some very big, very angry misogyny. Gender is as much a tribe as religion is in the smart, sly script by House of Cards’ Beau Willimon, sometimes both at once. Continue reading…

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MaryAnn Johanson

MaryAnn Johanson is a freelance writer on film, TV, DVD, and pop culture from New York City and now based in London. She is the webmaster and sole critic at FlickFilosopher.com, which debuted in 1997 and is now one of the most popular, most respected, and longest-running movie-related sites on the Internet. Her film reviews also appear in a variety of alternative-weekly newspapers across the U.S. Johanson is one of only a few film critics who is a member of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (the Webby organization), an invitation-only, 500-member body of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities. She is also a member of the Online Film Critics Society. She has appeared as a cultural commentator on BBC Radio, LBC-London, and on local radio programs across North America, and she served as a judge at the first Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Festival at the 2003 I-Con, the largest SF convention on the East Coast. She is the author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride, and is an award-winning screenwriter. Read Johanson's recent articles below. For her Women On Film archive, type "MaryAnn Johanson" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).