Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. 100
    This historical epic about the "virgin queen" of England's early life moves with the crackling urgency of a contemporary political thriller.
  2. 90
    What's best about the film is not the hot romance, but the coldness that lies at its heart.
  3. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Superior historical soap opera that shrewdly sidesteps all the cliches of British costume drama with its bold, often modern approach.
  4. The fabulous Elizabeth reinvents English Tudor history as gangster movie.
  5. Where Elizabeth really triumphs over its dusty source material is in transforming all this boring history into a real, rip-roaring adventure tale.
  6. 88
    The texture of the film is enough to recommend it, even apart from the story.
  7. A fascinating whirl of politics and palace intrigue.
  8. This is a sensual, psychologically modern costume drama influenced by both "The Godfather" and gals' guides to empowerment.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 42 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 3 out of 11
  1. EricC
    Apr 6, 2009
    Saw this for the first time a few days ago, and I'm astonished by how bad a film it is. How do you take such an interesting and Saw this for the first time a few days ago, and I'm astonished by how bad a film it is. How do you take such an interesting and entertaining slice of history and turn it in to such a bland, unengaging movie? Too often, the movie is overdramatic when it needs to be subtle. The actors bounce around from overacting to just phoning in their perfomances (which is wildly disapointing considering the incredible cast). The director is clueless how to shoot the movie, clearly believing all that is needed to establish mood and atmosphere is turning down the lights. The script is completely generic and empty period babble (those that compare this to the Godfather; have you ever even seen the Godfather?). And the edidting, my god. The scenes are just lazily slapped together, giving the film an awful and confounding flow that I can only compare to a daytime soap opera. Obviously, fans of period epics will gobble this up (and the Academy loves them some period epics). For everyone else, this is just a massive mess of a movie. I can't even imagine what the universally panned sequel was like. Full Review »
  2. AuskaP.
    Feb 14, 2008
    I just love Cate. She is just a perfect Elizabeth!!
  3. KenB
    Oct 11, 2007
    This is a great period piece, period.