Cate Blanchett is back in another Elizabeth film, and if you loved the first one, you are guaranteed to love the sequel.
Back in her regal seat, Blanchett returns as the Virgin Queen 10 years later, facing a new set of difficulties including aging, mortality, and religious intolerance. With the help of her trusted advisor, Sir Francis Walsingham, played by Geoffrey Rush, she struggles to surpass ordinary mortals and meet the divine standard of "Virgin Queen."
As she attempts to find a suitor, she falls for the adventurous and charming Sir Walter Raleigh, played by Clive Owen. Tragically, she must come to grips with the fact that their relationship must remain platonic because he is not royalty. Lady in waiting Bess Throckmorton, played by Abbie Cornish ( A Good Year ), is Elizabeth's closest resemblance of a friend—that is, before she betrays her majesty by becoming secretly involved with Raleigh.
Amid the complexities of interpersonal connections, Elizabeth demonstrates tolerance for Catholicism despite her trials with the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots. Yet after Queen Mary's behind-the-scenes assassination plot, Elizabeth must follow through with what will eventually lead to war with King Phillip II of Spain and define her as the legendary Queen Elizabeth.
Director Shekhar Kapur beautifully balances the difficulties of keeping the Elizabeth character fresh and relevant to the times with the help of screenwriters William Nicholson and Michael Hirst. Together they craft the story superbly and continue the essence of the first Elizabeth film while expanding deeper into the historic virtue of the famed Queen of England.
Gorgeous scenes, backgrounds, and cinematography are sewn together with the musical composition by A.R. Rahman in outstanding fashion, and every moment onscreen is an all-out definition of the purity associated with classical arts through Kapur's fantastic vision.
Cate Blanchett's performance is once again amazing. She is able to balance the emotional themes of innocence and power and push these subtle characteristics to the surface. She simply becomes Queen Elizabeth, and there should be little surprise to see her exceptional performance add up to an Academy Award at the end of the winter.
The supporting cast also comes up strong with Geoffrey Rush's role as Sir Francis, the voice of logic to the Queen, while Clive Owen and Abbie Cornish add the sizzle to the screen necessary for demonstrating the Queen's inner conflict over remaining noble.
Overall, Kapur and Blanchett without a doubt deserve high praise for the sequel and have done Queen Elizabeth justice once again.