* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: The Duke of Anjou kisses Mary of Guise on the lips for several seconds. [[IncestSubtext She is his aunt]]. He is also seen [[spoiler: holding her naked body]]. On the other hand - they're French. And the [[spoiler: death scene is very much played for drama, her nudity implies Walshingham murdered her while they were in bed together, and her nephew ''covers'' her body.]]
* AwardSnub: A famous example. This was the year of ''Film/ShakespeareInLove'' at the Oscars, where Miramax's campaign led to several other films being snubbed in favour of it - such as ''Film/SavingPrivateRyan'' for Best Film. Gwyneth Paltrow won for Best Actress over the relatively unknown Cate Blanchett.
* SugarWiki/HeartwarmingMoments:
** The moments before Elizabeth's AwesomeMomentOfCrowning. Her ladies-in-waiting - who are clearly her friends too - run in excitedly saying "the Earl of Sussex is here". Elizabeth for a moment realises that she is safe and she has become ''Queen''.
** One of the conspirators in the plot to overthrow her is the man who gave her his cloak in the Tower of London. Before his execution, she tells the man "all your many kindnesses are remembered".
* HilariousInHindsight: Who plays one of Elizabeth's would-be assassins? [[Creator/DanielCraig Bond. James Bond]].
* IronWoobie: Elizabeth herself. If you know her backstory, she was declared illegitimate at the age of three, her mother was put to death before she even knew her, and her sister grew distant from her. The film opens with her sister trying to have her killed, and she must fight other assassination attempts throughout her reign. She powers through and becomes the powerful queen everyone remembers her as.
* JerkassWoobie: Despite the brutality of her reign, Mary Tudor is shown to be slightly sympathetic. She has a phantom pregnancy, her husband takes off to Spain because he can't stand her and she comes to accept her mortality.
* MagnificentBastard: Francis Walsingham. Tortures Catholic priests, cuts the throats of boys sent to assassinate him, murders female pretenders to the throne, but still comes up smelling more or less of roses. And by the end of the film, under his tutelage, Elizabeth herself.
* {{Narm}}:
** To people who know their history, the line saying Lord Robert is already married being used as a WHAMLine. Especially since Elizabeth knew fully well in real life, and actually was at his wedding. You'd also think a queen would know such details about her subjects.
** The super-serious sequence of Daniel Craig's assassin walking stone-faced towards Elizabeth, making the sign of the cross in front of her. It's so dramatic it's hilarious.
** So much in the sequel. Example would be the part where Bess spins in place for no reason at the end of the battle against the Spanish Armada.
** An intentional example:
--> '''Sir Walter Raleigh:''' Potatoes. You eat it. Very... nourishing. Tobacco. You breathe its smoke. Very... stimulating.
* NightmareFuel: One critic described the first film as "a horror movie masquerading as a historical pageant". Some examples:
** The movie opens with a very graphic scene of a woman being scalped, before she and two others are burned at the stake for heresy. All the while the female is reciting a prayer like a MadnessMantra.
** As Elizabeth is moved from the Tower of London to her audience with Mary, there are riots in the streets. Someone even jumps onto Elizabeth's carriage, begging her to save them.
** Elizabeth is nearly shot with an arrow right as she's having a romantic moment with Robert in a gondola. It's so sudden [[MoodWhiplash and comes out of nowhere]].
** The fate of poor Isabelle - she wears a poisoned dress and dies screaming. As noted under Paranoia Fuel, it's a considerably more crafty way to try and assassinate someone.
** Walsingham's assistant being bludgeoned to death at the beach with a rock.
* OneSceneWonder: Kathy Burke is only in the first act, but her scenes as Mary are some of the most powerful in the film.
* ParanoiaFuel: The dress that was given to Elizabeth as a gift, that her hand-maid wore when she went to meet with Dudley. It turned out to be laced with poison. The contrast of her crying in pleasure to screaming in agony as the poison first began to itch and then kill her was a creepy one. That she could do nothing but whimper and die... and her body afterward. ''*shudder*'' You are left to wonder did she scratch herself till she bled, or was that the poison itself that cause her skin to blister and burst? Either way, it gives one pause when receiving clothes.
* RetroactiveRecognition:
** Daniel Craig has a small role in the first film as a man in a plot to overthrow Elizabeth.
** Kelly Macdonald as Isabelle, the lady-in-waiting who dies in the poisoned dress.
** Eddie Redmayne is an assassin in the second.
** Abbie Cornish also had one of her first major roles in the second film.
* {{Sequelitis}}: The second film got lower critical reviews than the first, and less awards love. Most people in general feel the first is the stronger of the two.
* TearJerker:
** The climactic part of the first film where Elizabeth undergoes an ImportantHaircut as a way of removing her femininity and becoming the IronLady her people need her to be. Kat Ashley is in tears as she cuts Elizabeth's beautiful hair.
** The conspirators shown sympathetically include a mother of two. She says goodbye to her sleeping children before she is taken away. In her audience with the queen, Elizabeth gives her some relief by saying "you mustn't think we care not for your children".
* WTHCastingAgency:
** Emily Mortimer as Kat Ashley does raise some questions. Kat was Elizabeth's governess and a surrogate CoolBigSis to her. Emily Mortimer is [[PlayingGertrude two years younger than Cate Blanchett]].
** Creator/MarlonBrando was going to be offered the role of the Pope. [[SubvertedTrope But then John Gielgud got the part]].
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