“Mary Queen of Scots” and “Second Act” – Strong Women Return

I have been to the movies once more and I’ve been lucky (or unlucky based on standpoint) to watch two looong movies about strong women trying to make it in the world of misogynistic men. I kinda liked both of them but I could not help but think that “Mary Queen of Scots” was a movie that attempted to tick as many of the PC culture tickboxes as it could and “Second Act” was “Maid in Manhattan” but with a different storyline.

Mary Queen Of Scots

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The movie aesthetic was gorgeous. Good colours (reds mostly for Elizabeth to match her hair and blues for Mary), sweeping shots of Scotland from above, loads of cold-looking palaces and medieval dresses.
The two actresses really pull of their weight and the underlying story is carried out to perfection. In a world of men, a woman must be strong enough to find a mate that won’t rule her or try to take what she has. Good plot point – carries from both ends of England.
Elizabeth is unwilling to marry and pick a husband – with her words, she wants to be a man and rule England like a man – ruthless and with a cool head on her shoulders. Unfortunately, the movie makes her look weak in most points where she is shown, fawning over Dudley, crying at his feet, meeting Mary (this never happened in real life) and then crying when she couldn’t offer her an army to take over Scotland and what really got me was those scenes where Elizabeth looked like she yearned to be a mother and had all these displays of pretend-pregnancy in the stables.

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Mary – on the other hand – went through the same plights. Trying to find a husband in a tense political environment, making powerful men her enemies by refusing to bend to their will and after finding out her husband was gay, she uses him to make a child (there are two scenes of brutal domestic rape scenes so if you’re weak of heart, don’t watch this movie).
I know what the producer wanted to show: Mary, from an independent soul became a puppet in the world of men, losing most of her power after getting married and her consort prince wanting to be called king..
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What I didn’t like about the movie

  1. Liberal agenda: everybody is made to feel welcome and accepted
  2. The movie is historical inaccurate: noblemen of colour were an unheard-of thing in the 1500s. So were Asian ladies-in-waiting
  3. Mary Queen of Scots would not have spoken English, as lowland Scotland spoke ‘Scots’ and Highland Scots spoke ‘Scottish Gaelic. Additionally, she would not have had a Scottish accent, as her mother, Mary of Guise, was French. Queen Mary also lived in France from the time she was five until she was eighteen. She likely spoke with a French accent.
  4. The gay husband subplot and the brutal murder of the troubadour for being gay/assumed lover of the queen
  5. The story seems to be told mostly from the perspective of Mary Queen of Scots and her plight to rule her kingdom when there was another, more powerful queen down-south. The story would have been a lot better told from the perspective of Elizabeth and how she viewed her rival up North.
  6. There is a lot of mysoginistic talk and the crap part was that some of the male members of the audience actually chuckled and laughed at John Knox’s line:

    John Knox: We have a scourge upon our land. Tis a woman with a crown.

    Ummm, do you agree with this dude? But hey, that’s one of my pet peeves.

  7. John Knox, Minister within the Church of Scotland, is portrayed periodically throughout the film as a vocal opponent of Queen Mary, even sitting in her privy council early in the film. Historically he had no presence in Mary’s court, and never had any official position within her government, as the Church of Scotland became formally independent from the Scottish Crown a generation prior, under the reign of James V.
  8. Last thing that really disturbed me was the fake meeting between Mary and Elizabeth where Mary comes to ask for help and then is being rude when help is refused.

    Mary Stuart: Do not play into their hands. Our hatred is precisely what they hope for. I know your heart has more within it than the men who counsel you.
    Queen Elizabeth I: You would do well to watch your words!
    Mary Stuart: I will not be scolded by my inferior!
    Queen Elizabeth I: Your inferior?

    I mean, if I wanted help from someone, I wouldn’t go and call them My Inferior! That’s a sure-way to get refused and any future requests shut down.

That’s about it! The movie was good though and I thoroughly recommend it!


Second Act

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J Lo is back in the game! Same strong woman, working in a supermarket, can’t get a promotion when a position opens as they bring in a manager with skills and a degree from Duke. She then complains to her best friend that street smarts should equal book smarts and then her best friend’s son makes her a fake CV with a fake identity that lands her an interview at a massive corporation.

So – I have nothing against people trying to better themselves but literally lying on their CVs (I can’t believe she never even asked to see it after it was posted) and then saying that a degree means nothing kinda devalues all the people who have worked for their degree and puts them on an equal stand with people who are “street smart”. I have to admit that experience does count for something and it’s good to be skilled in all sorts of trades but the idea that she managed a team of people while doing product development and innovation seems a bit far-fetched…

Good points of the movie: the idea that you have to stand up for yourself and not let other people walk all over you. Assert your qualities and fight for what you are due. Vanessa & Jen have great chemistry and the supporting cast is great.

Bad points: The plot is not very coherent and goes off in different directions:

  • She refuses to have a child with her partner but does not tell him why
  • She breaks it off with her partner due to career plans now that she has a better paid job?? No man in their right mind would say no to that
  • You find out her main competition at the new workplace is the daughter she gave away when she was 17
  • You find out she was hired not for her skills but as a way for the adoptive father to show his young daughter who her biological mom was… Ummm, a coffee date would have worked too?
  • You can’t fake credentials to major institutions and definitely not fake speaking Mandarin!
  • This is on a personal level – I could not help but stare at JLo’s shoulders. They are so freaking muscular she looks like a body-builder. And her dress-style only emphasized the strong neck and arms! Her clothing throughout the movie varies from ethnic skirts to business attire and I have to give props where they’re due. But she shouldn’t wear unflattering clothes that only accentuate the bad bits in her figure (PS: Amy Schumer (which I don’t like to begin with) had really nice fitting clothes in “Pretty” or whatever that crap movie was

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