Synopsis: From the day she is born, Mary Stuart’s hand in marriage is coveted with such “rough wooing” that her mother sends the five-year-old Queen of Scotland to France as the betrothed of Dauphin Francois. Mary and Francois grow up almost like siblings at the luxurious French court and are married at 15. Shortly after they become King and Queen of France.
However, Mary’s reign as Queen of France comes to an abrupt end after only a year, upon the death of the sickly Francois at the age of 16. Having lost her claim to the French throne, the young widow returns alone to Scotland, a country devastated by poverty and a nation divided by religion. As a Catholic, she faces the hostility not only of the Protestant leader John Knox but is reviled by her people as an unmarried French whore.
Elizabeth has just become Queen of England and for Mary she is like a twin sister to whom she can open her heart. It soon becomes clear that Mary must have a husband. Even Elizabeth takes action by recommending her own lover, a suggestion indignantly rebuffed by Mary. Mary does wed again and gives birth to an heir to the throne, but her second husband Lord Darnley proves to be a weakling.
When Mary finds the love of her life, the Earl of Bothwell, she has Darnley murdered and marries Bothwell. Horrified by this deed and the blind passion that motivated it, the nobles and the people of Scotland spurn her. In desperation, she turns to Elizabeth for help. In response, her once dear friend the Queen of England imprisons her.
Mehdi Dehbi (Rizzio)
Sean Biggerstaff (Bothwell)
Aneurin Barnard (Darnley)
Edward Hogg (Moray)
Tony Curran (Knox)
Bruno Todeschini (De Croc)
Roxane Duran (Mary Seto)
Joanna Preiss (Marie DeGuise)
Swiss Film Prize - Switzerland - 2014
Camerimage - Poland - 2013
Locarno International Film Festival - Switzerland - 2013
Toronto International Film Festival - Canada - 2013