THE darkly comedic The Favourite has been bending the Queen lead period drama genre out of the historically correct norm, with in form risqué Greek director Yorgos Lanthinmos working his usual off beat magic to great box office success.

Bring forth, Mary Queen of Scots, that enters another more accurate kind of Queen lead period drama. Based on Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy, the film follows Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird) as she returns to Scotland from France to reclaim the Scottish throne from a stubborn Elizabeth I (Maggot Robbie, I, Tonya). Most of the film circles around the two Queens facing off, and requires strong acting ability, which is delivered perfectly by the two actresses respectively. They are skilfully lead by first time film director Josie Rourke, who being the artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse in London, is more use to directing theatre actors. It seems that this maybe the magic formula after Saoirse Ronan was wonderfully directed in On Chesil Beach by British feature directorial debutant also a previous artistic director at the Royal Court and associate at the National Theatre. If you’re looking for a film closer to Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth, not only does Mary Queen of Scots provide an Australian actress playing Queen Elizabeth but the tone and genre is right back to what one would expect from a 16th Century period drama.

Fourteen Critic’s Choice nominations and four Golden Globe nominations and with a best actress win for our very own Olivia Coleman, it looks like there will be more accolades to follow for the Favourite. However, this film hasn’t gone down well with everyone. Its awkward, bleak and darkly comic tone have put off some audiences, even with reported walk outs and there have also been many rumblings about the historical accuracy of the film. This is a character piece and is not trying to be, overall, accurately biographical. You only need to look back at the award winning Greek director, Yorgos Lanthimos’s, last couple of films, The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer to understand the sort of tone The Favourite will have. Bold and wickedly funny, this film leads with three very different but equally brilliant actresses and is a must see.

One historical film which looks to be bending the truth but isn’t, is Norwegian thriller, 12th Man, the legendary story of Jan Baalsrud’s escape remains one of the wildest, most unfathomable survival stories of World War II. If the connection with the previous Queen centric films, is one of the 12th Man’s lead actors being Jonathan Rhys Meyers, whose portrayal of Henry VIII in BBC’s the Tudors scored him critical acclaim and the fact 12th Man is a historical correct film based on a book, the connection ends there. Norway, 1943: after a failed anti-Nazi sabotage mission leaves his eleven comrades dead, Norwegian resistance fighter Jan Baalsrud (Thomas Gullestad) finds himself on the run from the Gestapo through the snowbound Arctic reaches of Scandinavia led by Kurt Stage (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). It’s a harrowing journey across unforgiving, frozen wilderness that will stretch on for months - and force Jan to take extreme action in order to survive. The film has plenty of action whilst showing off the beauty of Norwegian landscapes. This is a wonderful story coming out of the extreme tragedy commonly shown in WW2 films and focuses on the kind people who risked their lives to help Baalsrud escape.

In 1893, a young Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette married the Parisian libertine, Henry Gauthier-Villars, a well-known author and publisher who used the pen name “Willy”. Collette’s first four novels – the four Claudine stories: Claudine à l’École (1900), Claudine à Paris (1901), Claudine en Ménage (1902), and Claudine S’en Va (1903) – appeared under his name. (The four are published in English as Claudine at School, Claudine in Paris, Claudine Married, and Claudine and Annie). The novels chart the coming of age and young adulthood of their titular heroine, Claudine, from an unconventional 15-year-old in a Burgundian village to a doyenne of the literary salons of turn-of-the-century Paris. The story they tell is clearly semi-autobiographical. In 1948, Colette’s letters were nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature., solidifying her legacy in French literature history. Colette is the biographical drama about Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette’s struggles to artistically survive under the misogynistic repression of her writer husband. With stellar cast and an inspiring story, this period piece gives more than just a historical recreation, but if you are a lover of turn of the century French mis-en-scène, then there is plenty to feast on.

This week’s Kids Club showing is the highly anticipated fresh take on Spiderman. Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse, is a vibrantly comic book style animated, dynamic, action adventure comedy, that looks to challenge the rest of the flogged franchise for the title of best Spiderman film of all time. The concept transcends the usual kids film reboot and even delivers more than just a marvel origins film, made just for the comic book fans. Into the Spider-Verse not only nails its brief with great timing and a punchy hip hop sound track but it goes further, with its unique forward thinking message that; no matter where you come from, what you do, or who you are, you can be Spiderman.

Moving away from the same young, white, male character, seemingly frozen in time, doing the same thing in each film, Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse brings a new way to make movies, making the film accessible to all and without betraying it’s comic book origins. This is a film for everyone.

Philip Duguid-McQuillan