Helena Bonham Carter does a superb job portraying one of the most tragic characters in history, Lady Jane Grey, otherwise known as "the Nine Days Queen". Her soft innocence and vulnerability are convincing and heart rendering. You also get to see a very very young Cary Elwes providing a fine supporting role as her doomed husband and Patrick Stewart (way before his Star Trek days) giving an equally fine performance as her scheming father. The story itself would make for a great Shakesparean tragedy if history hadn't written it first. I was quite moved at the cruel twists of fate that were handed out to this young girl. It is also a testament to the cruelty of parents to their children in sixteenth century England. This was commonplace at these times, even if one was of royal blood as Jane was. The moving and historically accurate execution scene, in which the blindfolded Jane cannot find the block to rest her neck is quite heart wrenching. You want...
Let's start with what's good about this movie. The cast is wonderful, the costumes superb, etc. And, they even got part of the history right. In the 16th century people did argue passionately (and die) over religion, poor innocent Jane was the puppet of ruthlessly ambitious adults. Blast it! That dumb love story ruined the whoe movie. There is absolutely no evidence that Jane and Guilford Dudley ever loved each other. Nor did they attempt to reform the coinage, build public schools, redistribute income... I think Jane's story is even more tragic when you realize that her horrible parents forced her into a loveless marriage to further their own ends. But yet, the execution scene was true to the historical accounts. Can you imagine the horror of watching a blinfolded sixteen year old groping for the executioner's block, and asking: "Where is it? What do I do?" If you ever go to London, visit the British Library where Jane's prayerbook is on display...
I loved this film for the great drama of a mere sixteen-year old being used for machinations of her family to ascend to the British throne. There is a scene where Lady Jane is punished (by spanking with a paddle or something) for disobedience; this is a harbinger of the ultimate tragedy for the hapless teenager. While the details of this historical drama are not precise, the tale is well-told and the costumes and scenery are magnificent. This is a good, riveting historical drama despite the liberties the screenwriters have taken.
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