Wednesday 16th January and a picturesque Central London embraced an aesthetically stereotypical British weather front. Sporting umbrellas and raindrops still weren't enough to deter an assortment of special guests who arrived in abundance for the first MOBO movie screening of 2019, ‘Mary Queen of Scots’.
Leicester Square’s VUE acted as host to a medley of U.K musicians, politicians, TV personalities, creatives and social media influencers who engaged in the periodic set motion picture directed by British film and theatre director, Josie Rourke, who was also in attendance for a comprehensive and insightful Q&A which took place after the screening, alongside cast member and actor Adrian Lester OBE.
With a running time of 2 hours and 4 minutes, demonstrations of love, betrayal, and vulnerability were skilfully executed in this clever depiction of what simply is a portrayal of two powerful women’s longings to be like each other in a highly pressured and male-dominated environment.
An artful and effortless body of work, in alignment with being an absorbing history lesson (while featuring some embellishments), every moment was filled with captivating scenes from lead actresses Saoirse Ronan (Mary Queen of Scotland) and Margot Robbie (Queen Elizabeth I). The film begins by introducing us to Mary who travels to Scotland to affirm her position on the throne as Queen and heir to England, a title she had been aware of as a child and a status which was also available to her cousin Elizabeth if she were to marry first and give birth to an heir. Throughout the film, the audience was provided with an in-depth look into the actuality of what life was like being in a stance of regal authority in 1542 and the encumbrance of what it took to be a ruler of the land.
Encompassed in a male-dominated terrain, a youthful and strong-minded Mary, who was a Catholic residing in a Protestant mainland, was an immediate target to slander by the people of the island. Having her own mind and not conforming to set laws, we see her tribulations from her choosing to marry a possessive, adulterous and highly unstable man she was warned against, Lord Darnley, played by Jack Lowden, and a battle with her own people turning against her for, in their eyes, not behaving how a Queen is expected to. Intricately portrayed, we witness Elizabeth’s struggle with her self-esteem with touching scenes of her coping with illness, which in that era was not medicinally catered for, down to her losing her hair and coping with being unable to conceive. From family to foes, friends to enemies, the audience observed a compelling struggle of what it was like to balance femininity and power.
Shortly after the end of the film, audience members were treated to a Q&A hosted by Scottish model and actress, Eunice Olumide MBE, with director Josie Rourke and Adrian Lester OBE, in which she spoke about the creative process behind the film and the struggles of working with 100 live animals for one scene! Parallel to Black British actor Adrian Lester OBE, who expressed his thoughts on playing the role of Lord Randolph, in which he gave insight into the reality of black people being courtiers in the 1500s, and that his role was not for the sake of diversity and the times in which we now live.
A wondrous evening to kick start 2019, which was filled with amazing guests and noteworthy artistry.
PHOTO CREDIT: UNIVERSAL PICTURES/ FOCUS FEATURES