The focus of King Charles II is his court, his squabbling family and his glamorous mistresses - from the high-born and promiscuous Barbara Villiers through folk heroine and sex symbol of the day Nell Gwynne to the French spy Louise de Keroualle. It is an original take on a historical period written by award-winning screenwriter Adrian Hodges, whose credits include David Copperfield and The Lost World, which penetrates to the heart of the charismatic monarch who was deeply traumatised by the execution of his father. Written by
"The Last King" is a 3 hour, two part miniseries from the BBC which traces the life of King Charles II who ruled from 1649 until his death in 1685. The upside of this film includes its sumptuous appointments and excellent cast. Well directed and crafted, the film is engaging, passionate, and delivers a strong sense of Charles II, his Monarchy, and the period. On the downside, however, the film is very difficult to follow given the absence of any prologue or didactics, the mixing of sir names and titles, and the presumption of some knowledge of the history of the time. The film squanders time on the sexual intrigues and personal relationships of the womanizing King while largely ignoring the more historical and profound matters of state. The Dutch Wars, for example, are barley mentioned while much time is spent on the machinations of one of his mistresses, Barbara Villiers making the film a bit more of a soap opera than a historical chronicle. Nonetheless, this elegant film is a must see for anyone interested in King Charles II and a should see for those into stories of the history of England's monarchy. No one does English period films better than the Brits and this one has production value equal to any similar films from Hollywood. (Note - the DVD I watched has no CC's or Subtitles with much dialogue spoken in whispers or thick English, French, of Portuguese accents). B
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