Elizabeth: The Golden Age


The grand Armada battle scenes may not survive the transition to the TV, but there’s still a lot to lap up in Shekhar Kapur’s sequel to 1998’s Elizabeth. Cate Blanchett’s performance as the Virgin Queen is a delicate blend of the fierce and the fragile – rising above the script’s anachronisms, she succeeds in making Bessie believable as both a woman and a monarch. Clive Owen is perfectly cast as dashing bounder and potato-bringer Sir Walter Raleigh, while Kapur’s direction goes to extravagant lengths to show the exotic splendour of the Queen’s court (dwarves, zebras et al). If the competing storylines occasionally make it feel like you’re watching an episode of EastEnders: The Elizabethan Years, then the rousing speeches that round things off restore any missing majesty.


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