I watched Elizabeth: The Golden Age yesterday, and was completely enchanted by it. I think Cate Blanchett was born to play Elizabeth, and she definitely fulfilled her birthright. And the actor who played Raleigh (sorry, don’t have time to check IMDB right now) was magnificent in the role, as was the actor who played Mary Queen of Scots. I remember reading somewhere that the type of behaviour exhibited by Mary is not unlike housewives scoring off the neighbour they’re not too fond of, something that’s somewhat tolerable in the neighbourhood, but not at all acceptable as royalty. I’m wording it badly, but I’m sure you understand what I mean. Anyway, the actor playing Mary got that, and she did remind me of a biddy who was trying to score off the next door neighbour, particularly when she finds out she was betrayed, and is screaming “Treason!” until she collapses in a swoon. (N.B. Swoon seems more appropriate here than faint. I’m just sayin’.)
But I did notice something that actually distracted me a fair bit from the story. Apparently everyone in Elizabethan England was slim. There were no overfed blowsy women, no overstuffed pompous men, and only a few who looked like they were just normal sized. Most of them were slender to the point of anorexia, although the ladies did have plenty of boobage.
I’m quite sure that the reason I noticed this is because I’m fat myself. I spend time hiding away from the world, not doing things that I’d like to do, because I’m so self conscious about my size. I remember vividly being at Santana Square in San Jose California a few years ago, and being aware that I was by far the largest person in sight, and finding it incredibly uncomfortable. So maybe Elizabeth’s court was composed of the privileged elite, such as those who shopped at Santana Square with me that September evening. And okay, I suppose that’s well and good. But I find it more likely that there were people of all shapes and sizes in her court, and I wish that Hollywood had reflected that instead of having everyone in the film be statuesque nearly anorexic beauties.
Baz Luhrman said, “Don’t read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.” That’s how I felt watching Elizabeth: The Golden Age. I felt fat and ugly.