Lady Jane (1986)
People always seem to forget about the nine day queen, but Marie Antoinette's head has nothing on Jane's. This seemingly-tiny underground made-for-tv movie with Patrick Stewart and Helena Bonham Carter completely zeroes in on the brutality of Catholic vs. Protestant rule in England. With some of the best acting I've ever seen, it tells a compelling tale of young love and twisted politics. Seriously- I would never, ever want to be a woman in that period. You can't make your own decisions, and then once you can, you get executed for it. Pre-Tim-Burton-movies Carter is enchanting as Jane, and the love story between her and a really young Cary Elwes is adorable, which makes it all the more sad that the two of them are just pawns in a giant battle for an established English religion.
Shakespeare In Love (1998)
This movie should be titled "If Shakespeare was Hot," because I'm pretty sure that if a noblewoman had met the Bard in actuality, the result would not have been a tumultous love affair, but instead a vow to never ever visit the theatre again. But because this is Hollywood and today's actors all have teeth, a story is unfolded around a supposed secret relationship. I like this movie because it makes you think about history in the sense that we really don't know what went on behind closed doors. I mean, from what we know about Shakespeare, he did write a shit-load of wonderful sonnets. But to who? That's where Shakespeare in Love comes in! It reminds us that no matter how much history we study, we weren't actually there, so it's totally possible to construct a fictional tale that could have easily happened. It features a stellar cast and amazingly accurate portrayal of theatre life (think Geoffrey Rush having a perfectly normal conversation about an upcoming play while in the midst of fucking). The only gripe I have about this movie is Judi Dench's fucking Best Supporting Actress Oscar as Queen Elizabeth. BULLSHIT. She was on for five minutes, gave Shakes some words of Wisdom, and collected her salary. Courtney Love could have played the same role for coke and they wouldn't have even had to deal with SAG.
The Movie Mistress