MOVIE REVIEWS – Mary, Queen of Scots and The Upside

Another double movie week this week with 2 more true stories. One being more accurate than the other. MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS and THE UPSIDE.

I had really been looking forward to seeing Mary, Queen of Scots. The trailers look amazing it’s an incredible cast and I’ve been quite enjoying the historical movies of late.

This film is based on the biography ‘Mary Queen of Scots – The True Story of Mary Stuart. It tells the story of the conflict between Mary (Saoirse Ronan) and her Cousin Elizabeth 1 (Margot Robbie) over who should have the throne of England. On paper it’s a story of 2 very strong and powerful women both fighting for the good of their country. A pretty gripping and exciting premise for a movie. In reality however it wasn’t anywhere near as good as it could have been.

Robbie and Ronan were both faultless in their performances in this film, but the script was lacking and some of the supporting actors were a bit mis-cast. David Tennant in particular. Not that he wasn’t good in this, his costuming however made him incredibly hard to take seriously, he looked like a bad extra from a Harry Potter film. Nothing in his performance could take away from the really awful beard he was sporting.

There’s been a lot of talk in the press about the historical inaccuracies in this movie and I can’t help thinking that if they were embellishing the story anyway they could have made it a lot more exciting. There seemed to be a lot of parts where issues were magically resolved without giving any clue as to how. It felt like key bits of the story had been edited out with a detrimental effect on the story.

I noticed a lot throughout the film that the scenes in Scotland always depicted it as a grey, miserable place to be, yet the scenes in England were always more bright and sunny. I’m not sure if that was to show some significance that maybe that’s how it felt living in those places at that time but being that it was for the most part set in Scotland it was pretty dreary.

All in all I was so disappointed by this movie. See it if you’re really interested in history but there are some really great movies still out that would be a much better way to spend an afternoon… which brings me on to THE UPSIDE.

This is another one based on a true story. And in all honestly it wasn’t one I was overly aware of.

It tells the story of a quadriplegic wealthy man who has a history of not getting on with his carers. An ex-con accidentally ends up interviewing for the position thinking he’s being interviewed for a cleaning job and its actually one of the best films I’ve seen this year.

It stars Brian Cranston as the wealthy man and Kevin Hart in what is easily his best performance as the carer.

As someone with a disability movies about this sort of thing are always interesting for me but I do also find that the majority show it as a negative thing. They show the bad stuff and leave out the humour. They make you come out almost pitying the afflicted character and you just feel utterly miserable after watching it.

This was a complete breath of fresh air. This is hilarious. It shows the hilarity of day to day life and the ridiculousness of the way some people react to someone in a chair.

Kevin Harts character is probably the worst candidate for the job but as is the case with films like this he does end up learning as he goes and seeing the relationship between his and Cranston’s character as it evolves is just beautiful to watch. The catheter scene is up there with one of the funniest movie scenes ever.

I do sometimes find Hart a little over the top. He seems to constantly have to be the funny man and that can backfire. But in this? It’s such a natural performance. I wouldn’t have expected to see that from him and the chemistry he has with Cranston is just phenomenal.

Not only is the performance great in this, the script is as well. It’s a wonderful, uplifting movie. It’s light hearted and shows a positive spin on disability.  It’s essentially a ‘buddy’ movie. One of those ones about an unlikely friendship where they get up to all sorts of mischief much like kids. Nicole Kidman is great in this too as Cranston’s PA. She’s very much disapproving of his decision to employ Hart and acts like the Mum telling off 2 naughty kids that she quite clearly loves.

I honestly loved this film. It’s one I’ve told everyone that they must watch. If you’re going to pick one this week this is the one you should see. You will not be disappointed.


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