Los Angeles Times

In 'Mary Queen of Scots,' a modern feminist spin on the frenemy queens who fought to rule Europe

LOS ANGELES - From the moment she became queen of Scotland at 6 days old, the world never stopped scrutinizing Mary Stuart's every move - or pitting her against Elizabeth I of England, the cousin whose throne she held a claim to by birth.

Implicated in a plot to assassinate Elizabeth that historians debate to this day, Mary was executed at the age of 44, leaving her enemies to write her legacy. So in the turbulent years of her controversial life, contemporaries wonder, who was the real woman known as Mary, Queen of Scots, and what led to her tragic undoing?

Put another way in director Josie Rourke's forceful new biopic, "Mary Queen of Scots": What if Mary and Elizabeth could've just sat down together and worked things out?

It's a notion that occurred to Rourke, star Saoirse Ronan ("Ladybird"), who plays the titular Scottish queen, and Margot Robbie ("I, Tonya"), who plays Mary's cousin and political frenemy Queen Elizabeth I.

"You don't know how many times I thought, 'If they just called out for coffee at the beginning of this movie ... it would have been so different!'" said Robbie with a

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