Mary Queen of Scots 1.0 stars

Mary Queen of Scots movie poster

Near the end of Josie Rourke’s pox-and-all rendition of Mary Stuart’s misadventures in monarchy (at the outset, she is former Queen of France, current Queen of Scotland, and hopeful Queen of England), the beleaguered Catholic asks her Protestant cousin Elizabeth (Margot Robbie), “How did it come to this?” We know the “this” from the opening scene, wherein she is taken from her knees before an altar and placed on her knees before a chopping block. The rest of the film is concerned with the “how,” and while there is much to admire — particularly the period aesthetic and Saoirse Ronan’s quicksilver lead performance — there is also much to lament: wonky political fast-talking over character interaction, a too-oft indulged tendency toward melodrama, and a largely failed attempt to parallel the struggles of two powerful women navigating the corridors of power. Mary has the better of it — in terms of both story and character — right up until her fateful confrontation with Elizabeth, which strives for momentousness but instead comes off befuddling. (How did it come to this?) After that, Robbie rises up and shows why she took the role, and the film manages a strong finish despite everything that’s come before. If it’s not quite a success, at least it’s an ambitious failure. 2018.

Matthew Lickona

Showtimes

Angelika Film Center & Café

11620 Carmel Mountain Road, San Diego, 858-207-2606 | Directions

Friday, December 14

10:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 4:00pm, 5:00pm, 7:00pm, 8:00pm, 9:50pm, 10:40pm

Saturday, December 15

10:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 4:00pm, 5:00pm, 7:00pm, 8:00pm, 9:50pm, 10:40pm

Sunday, December 16

10:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 4:00pm, 5:00pm, 7:00pm, 8:00pm, 9:50pm, 10:40pm

Monday, December 17

10:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 4:00pm, 5:00pm, 7:00pm, 8:00pm, 9:50pm, 10:40pm

Tuesday, December 18

10:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 4:00pm, 5:00pm, 7:00pm, 8:00pm, 9:50pm, 10:40pm

ArcLight La Jolla

4425 La Jolla Village Drive, Suite H60, San Diego, 858-768-7770 | Directions

Friday, December 14

10:35am, 11:25am, 12:55pm, 2:00pm, 4:30pm, 5:35pm, 7:00pm, 9:30pm, 10:45pm

Saturday, December 15

10:30am, 11:25am, 12:55pm, 2:00pm, 5:35pm, 7:10pm, 10:30pm

Sunday, December 16

10:35am, 11:25am, 12:55pm, 2:00pm, 4:30pm, 5:35pm, 7:00pm, 9:30pm

Monday, December 17

10:35am, 11:25am, 12:45pm, 2:00pm, 4:30pm, 5:55pm, 7:05pm, 9:30pm

Tuesday, December 18

10:35am, 11:25am, 12:55pm, 2:00pm, 4:30pm, 5:35pm, 7:00pm, 9:30pm, 10:40pm

Edwards Mira Mesa

10733 Westview Parkway, San Diego, 858-635-7716 | Directions

Thursday, December 20

7:20pm

Landmark Hillcrest

3965 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, 619-298-2904 | Directions

Friday, December 14

10:10am, 10:45am, 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 3:50pm, 4:20pm, 6:45pm, 7:15pm, 9:30pm, 10:00pm

Saturday, December 15

10:10am, 10:45am, 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 3:50pm, 4:20pm, 6:45pm, 7:15pm, 9:30pm, 10:00pm

Sunday, December 16

10:10am, 10:45am, 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 3:50pm, 4:20pm, 6:45pm, 7:15pm, 9:30pm, 10:00pm

Monday, December 17

1:00pm, 1:30pm, 3:50pm, 4:20pm, 6:45pm, 7:15pm, 9:30pm, 10:00pm

Tuesday, December 18

1:00pm, 1:30pm, 3:50pm, 4:20pm, 6:45pm, 7:15pm, 9:30pm, 10:00pm

Wednesday, December 19

1:00pm, 1:30pm, 3:50pm, 4:20pm, 6:45pm, 7:15pm, 9:30pm, 10:00pm

Thursday, December 20

1:00pm, 1:30pm, 3:50pm, 4:20pm, 6:45pm, 7:15pm, 9:30pm, 10:00pm

Regal Rancho del Rey

1025 Tierra del Rey, Chula Vista, 619-216-4707 | Directions

Thursday, December 20

6:40pm

Regal San Marcos

1180 W. San Marcos Boulevard, San Marcos, 760-471-3734 | Directions

Thursday, December 20

7:30pm, 10:40pm

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