When I watched this trailer for MARY, Queen of Scots, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that this HAD to be on my TIFF “to-see” list.
So last Saturday, Renée and I crammed ourselves into a packed theatre and prepared ourselves for what we thought would be a good show. Given what I knew in general about the story behind Mary, I figured what I would see would be bat-shit crazy in the best way possible.
Two hours later, when the movie’s title card flashed on-screen at the end?
And when the lead actress’s name flashed on the screen, it was met with sparse, scattered applause.
Honestly – at first, I thought I just didn’t understand what I’d just watched. Was I just not intelligent enough to get it? Was I that basic?
And then I turned to Renée, and she was wearing the same expression.
So. What was the deal with this film?
From what I could surmise, the story is depicted (in a very non-linear fashion) through a series of flashbacks and hallucinations leading up to Mary’s execution. But to be honest, I really couldn’t be sure. I’m STILL confused about this film, as I write this.
Mary (portrayed by actress Camille Rutherford) came across as a REALLY incompetent ruler, and only interested in the men she bedded, in her social commitments, and unhealthily obsession with wanting to meet (and be accepted with open arms by) her English cousin, Queen Elizabeth.
Now, I understand that, when such a well-known historical story has been told so many times, you can’t fault someone for wanting to try an unconventional approach. And the actors involved tried to work with what they were given.
But it’s hard to take a steaming pile of manure and try to pass it off as a thing of beauty.
This really, REALLY didn’t work. At all.
Sure, there were really neat shots of the fog enveloping the Scottish landscape, or reaching its wispy fingers across the wet sand. And some of the costuming for Rutherford’s character was neat (especially that vibrant red dress she wore to her execution).
But random yelling while riding a horse through the woods, because you’re stressed (I think?), among other things? What?
This film – directed by Swiss-based director Thomas Imbach – was bat-shit crazy for ALL the wrong reasons.
Everyone hits a dud movie now and then. But this wasn’t how I’d imagined ending my TIFF experience.