It is really difficult to find a historically more relevant, iconic and famous female personality than Elisabetta Tudor.
without a shadow of a doubt a woman who has changed the very concept of leadership, connecting it in a radical way to overcoming gender differences.
The series by Starz focused mainly on the early years, on what made this girl, theoretically predestined to be one of the many victims of a turbulent era, to change the history of England and the world. Not an easy task, but one that Becoming Elizabeth carried out with diligence and often originality, and which would have deserved a very different reception from the public and part of the critics.
A new point of view on the Virgin Queen
Let’s face it, it is not that there were many other paths to take to talk about her, but more generally of a very particular era of English history, characterized by internal struggles, anarchy, uncertainty, a climate of religious and political fanaticism that is not indifferent. . The court of England is one of the great topoi of modern storytelling, both on the small and large screen. Just think of The Crown, The Tudors, Mary of Scotland , but above all the two films about Elizabeth , the first in particular, which she launched in the international firmament Cate Blanchett . Here and there some vague traces of what Fuqua created in the late 90s emerge, if only for how she decides to outline a world through a female point of view.
Alicia von Rittberg has the arduous task of showing us something new, different about the Queen par excellence, and she does it quite well, while our gaze is lost in intrigues, scandalous relationships, lies, the complicated maze of tactics and plans that gives always make the struggle for power a realm of the mind.
The history of England is a story of marriages, divorces, betrayals and engagements, it is incredible (and this Becoming Elizabeth makes it palpable) to think how much it could have changed without certain looks, certain freedoms in private life, perhaps without that Henry VIII, Elisabetta’s father, with easy loves and an even easier executioner for his wives. The series bears the signature of Anya Reiss, who opts for something halfway between coming-of-age films, historical melodrama and a reinterpretation of the narrative in a feminist and even feminist key, in line with the dictates of the modern era. However, for those who are allergic perhaps to this modus operandi, we advise not to be prejudicial because above all the human and social side of this distant world emerges, without however renouncing a certain baroque aesthetic, the time travel that we all look for in products of this type. .
A different way of telling the story
Edward VI, Thomas Seymour, Maria, Catherine Parr, are the main characters who alternate alongside this girl who was initially lost, naive, unable to find her place in a world where being a woman is a no small handicap. Her sour will to count for something emerges, above all wanting to remedy the chaos that divides England, a slender construction on which anyone seems to want to claim rights.
Becoming Elizabeth has the merit of exalting both idealism and the will to emerge and excel, even if at times it exceeds with the novelization of the whole, albeit understandably for the purpose of a better use and understanding of the dynamics.
The staff becomes historical, the historian becomes intimate story, but it is an intimacy far from the slightly pecoreccio glamor of I Tudors, as the series insists on a very realistic and sometimes even very direct view of how Elizabeth began to discover not only the court, but also its rituals, her own sexuality, how being a woman could also give her an influence on the other sex, to compensate for being a body in the service of the state for this or that political marriage. On balance it is the story of the beginning of a rebellion by one of the most famous women of all time, who is forced from the beginning to do without her family, isolated, frightened, suddenly torn from a dimension innocent and neutral with respect to reason of state. The family is present and absent at the same time, it is a trap, blood ties cannot withstand the impact of history, personal ambition, the jungle made of sumptuous clothes, elaborate hairstyles, corsets, receptions, sins and lust. In all this, it materializes in a wonderful way how much Elizabeth had to grow up quickly to survive, but also because she was, after all, what she was destined to by nature, by character, perhaps due to hereditary inclination to command.
Is history also war between the sexes?
Becoming Elizabeth also helps answer a rather unspoken question: why do we love the English court? What about this environment fascinates and bewitches us regardless of the era and the characters? Perhaps the answer is connected to its ability to be a sea in which to find all kinds of high and low references, the desire to break away from mere everyday life and the need to reconnect “high” environments to the latter.
In this the Starz series does its great duty, avoiding, among other things, to fall into narrative clichés, to always give its audience what it wants, starting from the ending, consistently free of a glorious conclusion, as it is always connected. and in any case to the ongoing path of the protagonist.
Interesting direction, not too scholastic, incredible costumes and sets, but above all a well-conceived cast, on which Von Rittberg shines , capable of making his young Princess credible in every moment forced to accept hard lessons in court life, disillusions, betrayals and suffering. In all this, the character of Thomas Seymour has great importance , that Tom Cullenit makes the perfect archetype of a masculine constant: the fascinating manipulator, the “player” who loves women, life and his privileges as a man, but above all power. In him a great lesson of life shines, not only feminine: sometimes the best teachers are those who hurt and betray us, who force us to grow and to face disappointment towards ourselves. From the contrast between Elizabeth and this ambitious narcissist, perhaps the best moments of the series arise, which caresses but without too much animosity also the element of the struggle between genders. Above all, there remains the historical constant of the disparity of freedom and strength, of how paradoxically this element has finally produced by contrast the greatest Queen of all time. She would never be born surrounded by love,