Elizabeth: The Golden Age


Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 35
  2. Negative: 2 out of 35

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Critic Reviews

  1. 75
    Expect a fast-paced, beautifully mounted and well-acted soap opera with overripe dialogue that plays fast and loose with history - just like they did in the '30s, '40s and '50s - and you won't come away disappointed.
  2. An enticingly risque saga of the 16th century monarch.
  3. 70
    Cate Blanchett returns to the role that made her a star, and though this sequel to "Elizabeth" (1998) is less defensible as history, as florid costume drama it's just as entertaining.
  4. 63
    Elizabeth: The Golden Age lacks the intricate plotting that characterized its predecessor. The screenplay is more action-oriented but not as smart, and some of the dialogue is downright cheesy.
  5. 63
    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.
  6. Blanchett commands the screen as she commands the royal navy. Her unforced majesty makes a so-so film worth watching.
  7. 63
    Historians might demand a little more history from Elizabeth: The Golden Age. But soap opera loyalists could hardly ask for more soap.
  8. Reviewed by: Will Lawrence
    Over-indulgent and melodramatic, as is the nature of artistic mythmaking, The Golden Age will beguile and repel in equal measure. The performances are supreme, although some viewers may struggle to reconcile the director’s epic intentions.
  9. 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.
  10. Favors pageantry over substance.
  11. 58
    It says a lot about this movie that the most arresting character in it is Mary, whom Morton unsurprisingly endows with a fanatical combination of narcissism and rage.
  12. 50
    Cate Blanchett can do anything, even play Bob Dylan, but she can't save this creaky sequel to her star-making 1998 biopic of Elizabeth I.
  13. Despite good performances all around, particularly the ever-brilliant Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age is a gilded ornament, speculative and uninterested in much besides this queen's matters of heart.
  14. 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.
  15. History gets short shrift from screenwriters William Nicholson and Michael Hirst -- starting with the not insignificant fact that in 1585, Elizabeth was 52 years old – but Kapur is clearly more interested in spectacle and soap opera than dusty old facts.
  16. Reviewed by: 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.
  17. It is a silly film about serious matters.
  18. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    If you go in fully prepared for the cinematic equivalent of a grocery-store novel, this unnecessary sequel to "Elizabeth" (1998) has its pleasures.
  19. It’s intentionally playful and an inadvertent giggle, an overripe melodrama that’s by turns a bodice-ripper, a cloak-and-dagger thriller and a serious-minded historical drama with dubious contemporary overtones.
  20. A shrill and silly affair, bordering at times on camp.
  21. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    This handsomely mounted film, in its cute ADD way, soon forgets its half-hearted attempt to make History Relevant to What Is Going On in the World Today and morphs into a sort of Classic Comics on acid, or, as a friend so brilliantly put it, "the longest Eurythmics video ever made."
  22. It's common in Hollywood to describe a disappointing film this way: "Well, it certainly looks great!"
  23. The Golden Age is packed with distractions. But the biggest of all is the story itself, which works so mightily to tarnish the queen at its core.
  24. 50
    Despite its title, Shekhar Kapur's new film resembles tarnished copper, its dull focus more appropriate for an episode of “One Tree Hill” than a biopic of one of Britain's greatest monarchs.
  25. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    It's a faux epic -- swell costumes, historically authentic settings, a certain amount of bustle and skulking, but very little dramatically gripping activity.
  26. Blanchett miraculously gives a good performance, even when saddled with lines like this one, to Clive Owen's Sir Walter Raleigh: "In another world, could you have loved me?"
  27. 42
    The best you can say about Owen is that no actor has looked better in thigh-high boots and puffed-out britches.
  28. An unholy mixture of the banal and the bombastic.
  29. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Without the pleasure of watching Cate Blanchett continue the role that launched her to stardom, there would be little to recommend this latest of many cinematic and television accounts of the celebrated monarch's life.
  30. 40
    Kapur and his screenwriter have little interest here in maintaining even a dollop of historical accuracy.
  31. 40
    Might have been a lavish, silly entertainment. In places it comes close, but no sheaf of tobacco.
  32. Gives new meaning to "costume drama" in that it is a drama primarily about costumes. But the drama is about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the temple.
  33. 40
    The original “Elizabeth” was visually lush and quite engaging, but this is a sprawling mess.
  34. 33
    So instead of history and drama, we get images, many of them striking but none of them memorable, and noise that deafens until no sense can escape. The events beg for Shakespearean gravity, but the only tragedy here is that so little could be made of so much.
  35. Overdresses and ultimately abandons what drew us to its 1998 predecessor in the first place: an intimate embrace with history.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 74 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 38
  2. Negative: 10 out of 38
  1. Nov 19, 2015
    This is just as great as the first one. Cate Blanchett is superb, the costumes are stunning. (The story is just fine,I guess.) I don'tThis is just as great as the first one. Cate Blanchett is superb, the costumes are stunning. (The story is just fine,I guess.) I don't understand why this film got much worse reviews compared to the first one. Full Review »
  2. Jan 3, 2015
    Elizabeth: The Golden Age is a great sequel to the excellent original film. It doesn't quite scale the heights of the first film, mostlyElizabeth: The Golden Age is a great sequel to the excellent original film. It doesn't quite scale the heights of the first film, mostly because the theme isn't as stirring as the first's 'loss-of-innocence' motif. But the costumes are sumptuous, the performances are amazing, the pacing flows well and it never dips into tedium. One small annoyance; as a person with a passion for history, the historical inaccuracies were much more notable than the first film. Oh well. Still great, though. Full Review »
  3. Aug 25, 2014
    I don't know how historically accurate this movie is, but I rather enjoyed it. A good sequel to "Elizabeth".

    Queen Elizabeth is facing
    I don't know how historically accurate this movie is, but I rather enjoyed it. A good sequel to "Elizabeth".

    Queen Elizabeth is facing trouble with his enemies - and potential lovers. War lies ahead, England is weak, but the Queen must remain strong - correct? Between personal yearnings and the expectations she has set for herself, Elizabeth is both erratic and tragic to follow.

    Cate Blanchett and Geoffry Rush were amazing. The film was visually stunning, matching the era, and the music was beautifiully fitting.
    Full Review »