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Elizabeth: The Golden Age Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… momentary jolts of energy. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Squanders the opportunity to give us a telling glimpse of the woman behind the ruff. Instead, the costume drama is all gilt and opulence.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Ms. Blanchett can do no wrong, and does none here, though the movie around her, a popcorn-worthy sequel to the 1998 "Elizabeth," often lapses into opacity or grandiosity.

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  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Too bad Kapur's new, glittering sequel also shows up feeling prematurely old, square, and cautious. A production of exquisitely complicated wigs and expensively grand wide shots, it pauses often to admire its own beauty, leery of messing with previous success.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Weighed down by its splendor. There are scenes where the costumes are so sumptuous, the sets so vast, the music so insistent, that we lose sight of the humans behind the dazzle of the production.

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  • See all Elizabeth: The Golden Age reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 14+

Talky, arty, intense sequel may not interest kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this talky, artistic sequel to 1998's Elizabeth probably won't be a big draw for many kids, even older teens. That said, it liberally interprets the PG-13 rating (the original was R), since it contains some graphic, bloody violence. Images include torture, a tongue being cut out, heads in cages, beatings, shooting, hanging, beheading, and an epic sea battle. Flirtations are more intellectual than physical, though there's plenty of visible cleavage in the colorful costumes. One sex scene is glamorous and shadowy, with a brief image of a passionate embrace. Raleigh brings "natives" from the New World in face paint; though others look on them as novelties, the queen orders them treated like royal visitors. Characters drink occasionally, and the queen smokes tobacco once.

  • Families can talk about how the movie depicts its historical characters. Is it more or less realistic than other dramas about the Elizabethan era? How can you tell? How could you find out more about the period? Families can also discuss Elizabeth's choices. How does she deal with being single and powerful? What sacrifices does she make to be queen? How does the film compare her ambitions and cruelties with those of her cousin Mary?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Royals, diplomats, explorers, and servants all are ambitious, competitive, and treacherous, then make speeches about national pride. Constant politics, plotting, and betrayal.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: A man has his tongue cut out (bloody mouth visible) and is beaten (brief image, mostly assailants' kicks shown, rather than his body). Torture scene features screaming and bloody bodies, as well as heads in cages (with screws designed to poke holes in the skulls). One brother attempts to assassinate the other with a knife; the attacker ends up in prison, where he appears bloodied and collapsed (the abuse isn't shown, just the effects). Assassination attempt on the queen ends with gun fired, but no hit. Execution of a traitor shows hanging of bloody body (full body shot), then cut to dangling feet. Execution of Mary Stuart shows her head on the chopping block, the executioner with ax raised, and then cuts away, to the loud sound of the blade hitting. Elizabeth slaps Bess hard. British Navy vs. Spanish Armada battle includes canons, gunfire, flaming bodies, screaming victims, and a horse leaping from a ship in slow motion into the sea. A ship loaded with explosives serves as vehicular bomb.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Several scenes show cleavage, sometimes heaving, mostly encased in period bodices. Repeated references to Elizabeth's virginity (she makes one, in a joke about the name "Virginia"). Spanish ambassador accuses Elizabeth of taking "pirates to your royal bed." Complex flirtations among Elizabeth, Bess, and Raleigh feature speedy dialogue and subtle glances. Kiss between Raleigh and Bess; subsequent sex scene features nude torsos in profile, shadows, and dissolves.

  • language false0

    Language: Mild language includes occasional uses of "hell" and "bastard." One muffled word could be 'f--k,' but it's very difficult to hear.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Drinking at gatherings; Raleigh brings tobacco from the New World, saying, "You breathe its smoke: Very stimulating!" Elizabeth and Bess try smoking and cough.