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Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons star in Elizabeth I, a two-part HBO Films miniseries event that explores the intersection of the private and public life of Elizabeth I (Mirren) in the latter half of her reign, offering a personal look at her allies, her enemies and her suitors as she struggles to survive in a male-dominated world. Part 1 explores Elizabeth's tempestuous relationship with the Earl of Leicester (Irons) as it survives a French suitor, war, treason, and illness. Part 2 follows Elizabeth through her later years, during which she had an equally passionate affair with the young, ambitious Earl of Essex (Hugh Dancy), who had been raised, ironically, by his stepfather Leicester. In the end, Elizabeth I sheds light on one of the most popular members of the monarchy who held absolute power over everything... except her heart.]]>
Top Customer Reviews
Thus is the case with Elizabeth I, a miniseries originally aired on HBO and now available as a two-disc set. Directed by Tom Hooper and written by Nigel Williams, this is a sumptuous treat of a film, full of glittering costumes, period sets and actors who speak and sound right for the time. Instead of showing the usual cradle-to-grave life of Elizabeth I of England, a different tactic is taken, showing her coping with several pivotal times in her reign, and how she dealt with the problem and moved on.
The story opens after Elizabeth has been on the throne of England for about twenty years. She's now in her mid-forties, and her council of advisors are worried that because she has not married and given the country an heir, England stands a good chance of sliding back into civil war. Worse still, there's now the problem of religion -- most of England is Protestant, and most of the rest of Europe is Catholic, two factions that disagree with each other violently, and the only likely heir is the fanatically catholic Mary, Queen of Scots.
Elizabeth (Helen Mirren) isn't about to marry, as we quickly see. She's got exactly what she wants in her relationship with Robert, the Earl of Leicester (Jeremy Irons), down to the point where she has him alone in her private quarters, snuggling and cannoolding with a kiss and tickle or two.Read more ›
Her long reign at a critical juncture of English history presents a panorama so large that it is virtually impossible to capture in anything less than a lengthy miniseries such as PBS undertook in the 1970's with Glenda Jackson's bravura performance . . . a miniseries plagued, unfortuately, by quickly outdated production values. Given a choice imposed by a shorter format of whether to survey Elizabeth equally as both ruler and woman or to bring the camera in closer and to put more focus on one dimension than the other, Tom Hooper wisely chooses the latter.
I am a voracious fan of Elizabeth's watershed reign but, frankly, it has been surveyed enough. So I am pleased that Hooper chose to canvas the more complex side of Elizabeth the woman. And I am ecstatic that he chose the amazing Helen Mirren to do the heavy lifting. Certainly her job is made easier by a superb script with just the right balance between known events and intelligent guesses about the personal drives and private maneuvers behind those events.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mirren and Irons are outstanding as always. If you are a history purist this is not for you, but there is just enough fact to carry this version of a much documented later life... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Photophile
As historical dramas go - and they usually don't go far - this is a splendidly written, directed, and acted one. Read morePublished 5 days ago by MACLEAR
The acting was so great in this show! The costumes exceptional. Definitely worth watching..Published 6 days ago by Arlden
Cannot believe I haven't watched this series before. Helen Mirren.... She is amazing.Published 12 days ago by Amazon Customer