What do the historical drama Elizabeth and Living Out Loud, a modern romantic comedy, have in common? Released in the fall of 1998, each film documents the soul-searching of a woman who must come to terms with her true self and her relationships with men. Elizabeth Tudor, the daughter of Henry VIII, and Judith Nelson, a 5th Avenue New Yorker, live over 400 years apart -- but they share similar problems. Both know something about betrayal.
Judith’s (Holly Hunter) wealthy doctor husband has dumped her for a younger woman. Elizabeth’s (Cate Blanchett) lover is secretly married to another. Judith turns to the elevator operator (Danny DeVito) in her building for consolation. Elizabeth relies more and more on her Master of Spies, Lord Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush) and on her own judgment. Although Blanchett and Hunter give glorious performances, there are additional reasons to check out these two movies.
Elizabeth, masterfully directed by Shekhar Kapur, covers a period of English history seldom seen on screen. Most films about the Virgin Queen have dealt with later years of her long reign (44 years!), but this visually stunning version shows how she managed to become monarch and consolidate her power in the face of so many conspiracies.
Living Out Loud presents the delightful surprise of DeVito as a romantic lead. And he also sings! DeVito’s fans should love his rendition of “They Can’t Take That Away from Me.” Clever use of music adds to the charm of this entertaining film. Queen Latifah belts out wonderful blues numbers, and Hunter joins over 50 professional dancers for a provocative fantasy dance sequence. Screenwriter Richard LaGravenese, who made his directorial debut with this movie, based his original Living Out Loud screenplay on themes from two Anton Chekhov stories, “The Kiss” and “Misery.” His goal? “To tell a personal story about people and the journeys they make to find their place in life.” Mission accomplished with flying colors.
While Elizabeth Tudor and Judith Nelson travel through different times and places, their journeys provide valuable lessons for any age.
(Living Out Loud is released by New Line Home Entertainment, and Gramercy released Elizabeth. Both movies are rated “R” by the MPAA.)
For more information about these films, please go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.