Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. Despite the florid trailers' emphasis on bodice-ripping romantic imagery, Elizabeth is above all a political thriller.
  2. 60
    Whether the story's bald ironies are historical cliches or just dramatic ones, they convey only platitudes about gender, sexuality, and power.
  3. 88
    The texture of the film is enough to recommend it, even apart from the story.
  4. The movie -- directed in such a frenziedly self-conscious style you often wonder whether the camera will topple over on his actors.
  5. Acted and directed with great energy and imagination.
  6. This is a sensual, psychologically modern costume drama influenced by both "The Godfather" and gals' guides to empowerment.
  7. Reviewed by: Ron Wells
    30
    All of the nutty editing and the loud score just grated on my nerves and failed the story.
  8. 90
    What's best about the film is not the hot romance, but the coldness that lies at its heart.
  9. 80
    Bollywood meets The Godfather.
  10. Reviewed by: Jack Matthews
    80
    Period movies inevitably reflect more about the period in which they're made than the period of their subject, and rarely has that been more evident -- or more distracting -- than it is with Elizabeth.
  11. 100
    This historical epic about the "virgin queen" of England's early life moves with the crackling urgency of a contemporary political thriller.
  12. Although frustratingly confusing -- often the viewer can't be sure who is on which side or why -- the film brims with physical grandeur, exquisite costumes, and a captivating performance by Blanchett.
  13. A fascinating whirl of politics and palace intrigue.
  14. Reviewed by: Jeff Giles
    70
    Kapur can't decide if he's making an art movie or a melodrama, an opera or a soap opera.
  15. 75
    It's a rousing adventure that keeps the audience involved for the entirety of the two hour running time while opening a window into the culture that gave birth to Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, Francis Bacon, and William Shakespeare.
  16. 70
    The film belongs to Blanchett -- this hellcat Virgin Queen is something to see.
  17. Reviewed by: Laura Miller
    80
    A handsome, diverting coming-of-intrigue story studded with meaty performances.
  18. Elizabeth works in a number of ways. It's a feminist film. It's also a kind of spy thriller and a superior historical drama.
  19. History rendered with enough brains and imagination to more than make up for its few stumbles.
  20. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    80
    The movie's approach makes for juicy melodrama.
  21. 60
    But much of it, like its subject, is so cryptic, distractingly stylish, and impenetrably posed that it's rough going most of the way.
  22. Bad history it may be, but Elizabeth is a movie that makes you want more, as it plays to the myth of history's great actress-monarch, a character who puts today's tinselly political heros and heroines (royal and not), to shame.
  23. This Elizabeth is presented as a glamorously stressed-out modern woman who must cope with a super-intense case of having it all.
  24. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    80
    This darkly sumptuous, hypnotically complex movie ought to have many constituencies.
  25. Reviewed by: Sandra Contreras
    60
    The conspicuous lack of emotional resonance makes this film "Queen Margot's" poor cold English cousin.
  26. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    50
    A notably undynamic treatment of Protestant Elizabeth I's ascension to the British throne.
  27. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    90
    Superior historical soap opera that shrewdly sidesteps all the cliches of British costume drama with its bold, often modern approach.
  28. 80
    Elizabeth's most triumphant aspect is Blanchett's transformation from saucy, spirited toe-tapper to iconic Virgin Queen.
  29. The fabulous Elizabeth reinvents English Tudor history as gangster movie.
  30. Where Elizabeth really triumphs over its dusty source material is in transforming all this boring history into a real, rip-roaring adventure tale.

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