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Tristan and Isolde is one of the most enjoyable films I've seen this year. I saw it in a preview screening without knowing anything about the film or the myth. I expected a mediocre romance, only hoping that it would be set in an interesting medieval setting and that my girlfriend would enjoy it. Well it is a story of love, but also so much more. The film has a dark undertone to it and every character is torn between hard choices of power, loyalty, friendship and in Tristan's case, love. There is plenty of both tragedy and love and although very dramatic I never felt it was being too sentimental. The battle scenes are very well done. Although realism is sometimes sacrificed for dramatic impact, this works very well for the film. Most importantly there are no invulnerable heroes. Everyone is in immediate danger of mutilation and death, making the fight scenes more intense. The casting of Tristan, Isolde and Lord Marke is perfect and most of the supporting cast do an equally great job. The absence of any Hollywood superstars makes the film all that much better. Enjoy.
One of the great love stories from the medieval courtly romances,
"Tristan and Isolde" has received many different treatments from
medieval poets such as Gottfried of Strasbourg to the haunting opera by
the nineteenth-century German composer Ricard Wagner. In each of the
versions of the story, there are new and different plot details in this
tragic love story.
In Kevin Reynolds' film adaptation, the most intriguing new twist from the traditional story is the way in which Tristan and Isolde meet. In this version, Tristan is given up for dead following a battle in Cornwall and washes ashore in Ireland in a boat only to be discovered by Isolde. She then uses her magical herbs to cure him. In Gottfried's medieval tale, the two young people drink a love potion from a goblet of wine. In this film, the young people fall instantly in love without any need of an elixir.
In two touching performances, the young lovers are played by James Franco and Sophia Myles. Their on-screen chemistry is electric, and their scenes together are filmed effectively by Reynolds in beautiful location settings. The film also explores themes of medieval chivalry and honor. Rufus Sewell delivers an excellent performance as King Mark caught in the love triangle that recalls the famous story of King Arthur, Lancelot, and Guineviere.
There are also great action sequences in "Tristan and Isolde," including battles, tournaments, and medieval siege warfare. But the most memorable scenes are the intimate moments with Tristan and Isolde. Their fateful meeting and the unfolding of their relationship make this film worthwhile for audiences both familiar with the legend and for those being introduced to this timeless love story for the first time.
Beautiful, full of emotion and moving. The characters are portrayed skillfully and are generally believable - they fit into the legend but aren't overly heroic. Not overdone. The love between Tristan and Isolde is so powerful that it's impossible not to feel for them, but it is also impossible not to feel bad for the King, who is deeply in love with Isolde as well. The film's main departure from the traditional story is it's decision to leave out the love potion between T+I, which for modern audiences is a smart choice; it makes the whole relationship appear more 'authentic.' This is also one of Rufus Sewell's only' sympathetic roles, and it's a treat to see him play someone we don't automatically hate. The real heart-wrencher comes from watching the love grow between T+I while their obstacles grow larger. The movie also had some great battle scenes, just violent enough without going for the gross-out factor, convincing but not painful to watch (for most). And like most good dramatic movies it's not completely without humor, there are definitely some moments that make you laugh, or at least smile. Overall, it is one of the best romantic historical movies I have seen in a very long time. This movie is sure to make the entire female population fall in love with James Franco, and it's story is unforgettable.
I did not expect to like this film; the reviews were lackluster, and
many seemed to think the leads were mediocre at best. I found the
performances riveting and highly engaging. While I do not know the
actual historical story, I found the storyline highly captivating.
I thought James Franco played Tristan brilliantly - broken hearted but not brooding, he seemed to only come to life during battle before meeting Isolde, and then afterward only in their stolen moments together. Many of the reviews I've read seem to think that he played the role flatly, but I thought the subtlety of expression in his eyes and body language was impressive. Confident as a warrior, but almost innocent in intimacy, I thought he walked the thin line between adult and youth effectively.
Sophia Myles captured the fire, vulnerability and desire of Isolde with fervor - and that's not easy to do. Myles delivered her lines subtly, tinting words with emotional depth -scorn, joy, passion, frustration, disappointment - that was understated and yet passionate. She, too, managed to portray a delicate balance between the innocence of idealistic youth and the realities of a woman who found her self in an unenviable position.
Rufus Sewell was fantastic. As king, he had to walk the thin line between diplomacy and his own frustrations; as a man, he came alive when with Isolde, and so her betrayal was all that more heartbreaking, a scene which he played with focus and power.
I thought the fight scenes were very well done, except for the excess of cut shots, jumping from person to person, which moved the action almost too quickly, occasionally resulting in a jagged flow of action. Overall, however, the battle scenes were very well done.
The costumes were incredible - not period realistic (especially Isolde's wedding gown) but they were beautiful and overall well designed to intimate the period but still have some glitz. The locations shots were awe-inspiring.
I LOVED these characters very shortly after they each came on screen. I rarely feel such a strong connection to characters, especially of period pieces, but each of the leads played their roles with finesse. I deeply cared about these people, seeing hope and joy rise in their eyes, only to see events quickly turn that joy to sorrow, and hope to forceful determination. Their moments of happiness are so brief, their heartbreak so complete that I found myself profoundly moved by their experiences. As deeply invested as I became with these characters, I nearly sobbed at the end of the movie. A 5-hankie tear jerker.
I eagerly await the release of the DVD, and expect to enjoy this film many times over.
Tristan & Isolde was basically the best Love story that I have seen in a good while. Better than the Notebook, better than Romeo & Juliet, better than anything you could imagine. I went into the movie realizing that I would shed a few tears, it is a given with me and love stories. I did not know that this movie would cause me to sob severely and to really fall in love with Tristan & Isolde. This movie can not even be exclaimed, it truly is a work of art. I went with a couple girl friends, and in the car ride home this movie was all we could talk about. The parallels between it and Romeo & Juliet are apparent, yet this love story seems to be more passionate and true love. The actors and actresses really gave off the impression that they were in love and troubled by all of the heartache they must overcome. Even though it is 2 hours long, I lost track of time and all sense of my surroundings. This movie both captures and captivates the audience. A must see...
I must say that I didn't even originally plan on going to this movie,
but after I was asked by a friend to see it on its opening night, I
said that sure, I would go. I figured that it would be alright, nothing
more than mediocre at the most, but this movie was amazingly wonderful.
I have heard many people's comments on how they didn't like it because "Myles' accent was completely wrong," "the chemistry between Franco and Myles was horrible," "it didn't even follow the original story," and many other miscellaneous things. While the story line was changed a little from the original story, I believe that it was still good. And come on, how many times does Hollywood actually stick to the original story anyway? I think that the way the story went was much easier for people who were not familiar with the story of Tristan and Isolde to follow.
Further, I thought that Myles did a wonderful job with her accents. I found it very easy to differentiate between the Irish and the English.
And lastly, I found the chemistry between Myles and Franco to be simply wonderful. They really showed me that the characters were truly in love; it was compelling and deep, put together for a very good movie.
I can honestly say that this is one of the best movies I have seen in a while; it was not the watered-down relationship kind of thing that comes from Hollywood most of the time. From the battles to the most intimate of scenes, it stayed simple; not the high-tech kind of thing that you would usually see. There were some parts meant to be funny, some meant to be sad, and the movie averaged out to give you the best of both. I will tell you that in its opening weekend I saw it more than once, something that I would usually never do. It's a movie that gets better and better each time you see it; one where you pick out things each time that you had not seen before.
Simply put, this is a wonderful movie. I loved it, but I would not recommend going if you're just going because you think that James Franco is hott! I know some people who didn't like it, I won't lie, but if you come to the movie with an open mind and know that some things are going to be different, you will absolutely love it, as I did.
Sophia Myles is without a doubt one of the most gorgeous actresses ever
to appear on screen, and most people's ideal image of what Isolde
should look like. The scenery is breathtaking, the cinematography
stunning, and the costumes remarkably authentic. Kevin Reynolds, who
has a proved track record with making accessible period films (Count of
Monte Cristo), mercifully gives the film a believability that is
missing in most modern historical films.
This is not an adaptation of the Wagner opera, nor a retelling of any specific version of the tale, but a distillation of its strongest elements. The absence of magical elements is a strength, as it was in Petersen's Troy.
The actor playing Tristan is acceptable, neither spectacular nor awful, but plays the part well enough not to distract from the other fine elements in the film.
Overall, a remarkably successful film, and the only shame is that it hasn't received wider publicity.
I took my GF to it last night. It was her birthday and she had the pick of which movie to see. I had not seen any of the trailers for it and was told it was a romance. What I saw was not at all what I expected! Set back when there were Kings and Lords, it kept me entertained through the whole 2 hrs! There were several lesser name actors that I recognized which made it even more appealing. No huge stars overacting! I've been told that the movie does not follow the fable exactly, but I had never heard the fable so I can't verify this. Not an action flick like Gladiator or Troy, but if you like that era this is a movie for you!
There are love stories,and then there are love stories that pack a powerful punch.Tristan and Isolde indeed falls in the latter category. I must confess to not being an avid watcher of romance films,and was expecting not to enjoy much,if any of this film at all.I came away pleasantly surprised,as this film has a power that is hard not to acknowledge.It is two love stories in one.An English warrior is torn between the love of a woman from a country with which they are at war, and the man to which he owes his very life.The problem is,his two loves are sworn to one another,though not by the lady's choosing.The story is told well,and the film beautifully done.As of this writing,it is still in theaters and is worthy of the admission price,not to mention a worthwhile future rental.
I have to admit that I do not remember much about this story from my college Western Civ class, but I enjoyed this director's work in other films, so I took a chance. What a lovely film! The story is well told, paced well, and full of thought provoking moments. I found the leads, particularly Sophie Myles, who plays Isolde, to be mesmerizing in their roles. The supporting cast is also terrific. I know this won't be for everyone, but it's also not strictly a chick flick. There's plenty of war scenes, adventure, action, etc. to keep those action film fans happy, and yet there's a lot of good love stories, and not just between the two leads as you might expect. I recommend this one!
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