A costume drama in the best Hollywood tradition that distorts the historical record and slips into anachronism at will in order to offer an insight into transformation of the young Queen Elizabeth into the Virgin Queen. There is amour amid the armor as Cate Blanchett learns the rules of realpolitik that she will need to keep herself on the throne and off the block. But she does it well and she is well supported by her court including Geoffrey Rush as Sir Francis Walsingham and Joseph Fiennes as her lover, Sir Robert Dudley. The compression of so many events into a two-hour movie does lead to some confusion at times but Shakhar Kapur can always be relied upon to give your eyes something to feast upon while you're trying to keep up with the plot. It is not quite a feminist re-writing of history as much as The Godfather with frocks, and for every heaving brocaded bosom there is a severed spiked head.
Elizabeth also features Christopher Eccleston, Fanny Ardant, Kathy Burke, John Geilgud and Richard Attenborough and is available on DVD from Universal Studios.