Pitted against each other in royal rivalry, Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie’s powerful performances depict two of history’s most misunderstood monarchs in a new light, albeit an historically inaccurate light. Director Jodie Rourke spins the infamous 16th-century conflict into a visually captivating retelling. Queen of France at 16 and a widow at 18, Mary (Ronan) returns to her native Scotland to attempt to overthrow Elizabeth (Robbie) and reclaim the throne. Known as ‘The Virgin Queen’ without an heir, Elizabeth is thrown into an inconvenient power struggle with her cousin. The feud is mostly at safe-distance with tension created through letters (and an embellished face off). Although the Queens are deeply divided by their religious beliefs, they are both plagued by paranoia and threatened by betrayal in their own courts. Often manipulated by controlling courtiers and politicians, both must question whether they can trust those men around them. Ronan states the cousins are ‘turned into enemies by others whisperings’ but are interestingly ‘similar in many ways’. As Mary says of Elizabeth, “No one understands my situation except her”. The film adds depth and colour, to an historically oversimplified rivalry. (research Rachel Williams) Not to mention employing some creative cinematic guesswork. Come.