The first time most moviegoers got a look at the now ubiquitous and Oscar-winning Cate Blanchett she was looking unglamourous and plain in Elizabeth as a young woman of noble birth but little ambition. No plans had she to wear a crown. The young actress sported long reddish blonde hair and wore little makeup. Though her face was compelling Blanchett’s star charisma was far from fully formed but then neither was Elizabeth’s identity set. This casting decision made for an exemplary and electric match. Star-making breakthroughs are rare (else every actor would be on the A list) but here’s the most dependable formula: pair a quality actor with a challenging role that both fits like a glove and reflects like a mirror. It’s magical... especially the first time.
The rest is history. Cate Blanchett's Elizabeth was nominated for an Oscar and the young actress soared from relatively unknown to must have Hollywood star --26 films in the past ten years bear the truth of that. Which brings us to Elizabeth and Blanchett reunited in Elizabeth the Golden Age, both several years into their mythmaking runs as queen and star respectively: this glove still fits, the mirror yet reflects. But is the reunion flattering to either woman?
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