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Asylum (2005)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance, Thriller  |  9 September 2005 (UK)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 4,010 users   Metascore: 51/100
Reviews: 52 user | 80 critic | 29 from

A woman becomes very curious about one of her psychiatrist husband's inmates, a man who was found guilty in the murder and disfigurement of his former wife.



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gus Lewis ...
Bridie Straffen
Sarah Thurstan ...
Alwyne Taylor ...
Hazel Douglas ...
Anna Keaveney ...
Mrs. Bain
Edgar Stark
Robert Willox ...
John Archer
Brenda Raphael


In the 50's, the psychiatrist Max Raphael is hired to work as superintendent of an asylum in the outskirts of London, and he moves with his wife Stella Raphael and their son Charlie. Stella has a passionless marriage and is ignored by Max; her boredom changes when her son befriends the handsome inmate Edgar Stark, an sculptor that in a crisis of jealousy had killed and disfigured his wife, and that is treated by Dr. Peter Cleave, an ambitious psychiatrist that aspired Max's position. During the afternoons, Stella has a hot adulterous affair with Edgar until the day he escapes and their affair is discovered. Stella has to take a decision between her family and her wild passion for Edgar. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Passion knows no boundaries. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality, some violence and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

9 September 2005 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A Casa da Loucura  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$36,272 (USA) (12 August 2005)


$374,903 (USA) (11 November 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Both Marton Csokas and Ian McKellan have appeared in 'The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring' and The 'Lord of the Rings: Return of the King'. See more »


Nick: [to Stella, shyly] I love you. Doesn't matter, but I do.
Stella Raphael: [smiling] No, you don't.
Nick: I do. I love him, too.
See more »


References Vertigo (1958) See more »


Ten Green Bottles
Performed by Kidzone
See more »

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User Reviews

A thunderbolt
6 September 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Anyone calling Natasha Richardson's Stella Rafael a "sexually bored housewife" is Not Paying Attention. What happens to her and to Marton Csokas' Edgar is a thunderbolt--a life changing charge that flashes through them both and changes them forever. They have much more in common with Heathcliff and Cathy (of "Wuthering Heights") than any other lovers I've seen on screen in the 21st century: consumed, obsessed to the point of (and beyond) madness in one another, not out of selfishness but out of a cosmic passion that takes them both utterly by surprise. Certainly, Edgar is a pathologically jealous man: mad, bad and dangerous to know. But madmen can fall in love, too, and he is taken entirely unawares by his passion for the icy, closed-off Stella. What seems on the surface to be a re-enactment of "Lady Chatterly's Lover" turns into the darkest of passion plays. Neither the writer nor the director succumbed to the temptation to make this a sentimental romance or a soap opera; these are dangerous people making dangerous choices, and sometimes dangerous, even tragic mistakes. Like Heathcliff and Cathy, there is no way this story is going to have a happy ending, or these people anything but a tortured denouement. But they are fascinating to watch while they do it.

Marton Csokas absolutely burns through the screen, all fire and smoky, mad eyes to counter Richardson's ice cool yet profoundly moved Stella. Together they heat up to the boiling point and spill over into an explosive combination of lust, love, and tragedy. Ian McKellan's smirking Peter the Freudian is wonderful as the manipulative puppet-master who is not really as clever as he thinks he is. Alas, Hugh Bonneville plays Stella's husband as a one-dimensional cartoon. It's only partly his fault, the character is written that way, but he brings neither subtlety nor nuance to the role. The movie might have been better if McKellan had been cast as the husband, and Bonneville as the shrink. Neither of these characters, however, can hold the screen against the incandescent Edgar and Stella, right up to a surprising and inevitable ending. Even if you condemn them for the disaster they create, you know why they create it. Excellent and disturbing. Highly recommended.

23 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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