An aspiring young physician, Robert Merivel found himself in the service of King Charles II and saves the life of a spaniel dear to the King. Merivel joins the King's court and lives the high life provided to someone of his position. Merivel is ordered to marry one of the King's mistresses in order to divert the suspicions of another one of his mistresses. He is given one order by the king and that is not to fall in love. The situation worsens when Merivel finds himself in love with his new wife. Eventually, the King finds out and relieves Merivel of his position and wealth. His fall from grace leaves Merivel where he first started. And through his travels and reunions with an old friend, he rediscovers his love for true medicine and what it really means to be a physician. Written by
P. Wong <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Composer James Newton Howard's main theme is based on a music from The Fairy Queen by Henry Purcell. See more »
At a very early point in the film, the King says something along the lines of "....and these are your playmates." In the background is a horde of 17th-century ladies boating on the Achille Duchenne water parterre at Blenheim Palace. The palace was not built until the late 18th century, and the parterre was not designed until 1925. See more »
Opening Title Card:
In 1660 Charles II was restored to the English Throne ending 11 years of Oliver Cromwell's bleak Puritan rule. Thus began the age of Restoration. It was an era of scientific discovery, artistic exploration and luxurious sensuality.
Opening Title Card:
It was also a time of natural disasters and archaic medical practices. Science was pitted against superstition. This is the story of one man's journey through the light and dark of those times.
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After watching this film, I felt my faith in humanity had been (somewhat) restored, and not for the squishy, feel-good reasons either. Instead, I felt that filmmakers can often demonstrate truly wondrous, creative talents; Try not to think of all those sumptuous 18th Century European paintings that feature either the rich or the starving, while taking in the cinematic beauty of Hoffman's 'Restoration.'
So what if Meg Ryan has a role in this one, I still enjoyed it. This film is not about her anyway (the film is told from an exclusively patriarchal viewpoint, and doesn't sink into syrupy romance... at least not the way I saw it).
Eugenio Zannetti (I'm not entirely sure about the spelling, but he is a production designer of infinite wisdom and talent) created endless aristocratic hallways, gorgeous rooms, and locations of richness and pestilence that exist side-by-side. Zannetti went on to 'architecturally' design the central, Rococo menace in "The Haunting" (1999).
Downey Jr's performance (as a doctor) is Raphaelesque, a walking representation of the period in which this story takes place (the anguish and hope he must undergo and have is thespian splendor). Ian McKellan also appears (need I say more) here as a disheveled, yet benevolent supporting hero.
I strongly recommend you experience this 'restorative' piece of cinematic art.
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