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Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (2005)
"A Cock and Bull Story" (original title)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  20 January 2006 (UK)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 10,501 users   Metascore: 80/100
Reviews: 122 user | 123 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

Director Michael Winterbottom (Northam) attempts to shoot the adaptation of Laurence Sterne's essentially unfilmable novel, "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman."

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Elizabeth / Keeley Hawes
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Susannah
Raymond Waring ...
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Conal Murphy ...
Joe Williams ...
Paul Kynman ...
Obadiah
Mark Tandy ...
London Doctor
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Midwife
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Dr. Slop
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Surgeon
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Parson
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Mark
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Ed
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Storyline

Two actors, as their make up is applied, talk about the size of their parts. Then into the film: Laurence Sterne's unfilmable novel, Tristram Shandy, a fictive autobiography wherein the narrator, interrupted constantly, takes the entire story to be born. The film tracks between "Shandy" and behind the scenes. Size matters: parts, egos, shoes, noses. The lead's girlfriend, with their infant son, is up from London for the night, wanting sex; interruptions are constant. Scenes are shot, re-shot, and discarded. The purpose of the project is elusive. Fathers and sons; men and women; cocks and bulls. Life is amorphous, too full and too rich to be captured in one narrative. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Because everyone loves an accurate period piece. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Release Date:

20 January 2006 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story  »

Box Office

Budget:

£2,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$60,886 (USA) (27 January 2006)

Gross:

$1,247,453 (USA) (28 April 2006)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tony Wilson:  The real Tony Wilson (who Steve Coogan played in 24 Hour Party People (2002), another Michael Winterbottom film) plays himself, interviewing Steve Coogan on the film set. The somewhat spiky relationship between the two (who also worked together on local TV in the early 1990s) is subtly referenced in Coogan's lukewarm "let's catch up in Manchester". See more »

Quotes

Walter Shandy: Tristram? My son has been cursed from the moment of his conception.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Throughout the closing credits, Rob and Steve talk about how they use techniques of various other actors. See more »

Connections

References Columbo (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Lilliburlero
Arranged and conducted by Leonard Rosenman
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc
© Warner-Tamerlane Pub Corp
By Kind Permission of Warner/Chappell Music Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unfilmable book according to Michael Winterbottom
6 February 2006 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Tristram Shandy, the complex novel, by Laurence Sterne, comes to the screen thanks to the adaptation and direction of Micahel Winterbottom, a man that likes to take risks. The idea of mixing the goings on of a film being made based on the novel, and the people behind the project presents some original ideas about what goes on behind the scenes.

This film within a film, showcases the talents of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, two funny English comedians that haven't been seen much on this side of the Atlantic, but who are quite well known in the U.K.

The Sterne novel is just a pretext for making sense of the book, which presents tremendous challenge to the movie makers. On the one level we see the story of the birth of the hero of the novel, and on the other, we watch a somewhat conceited actor going through the process of the filming as he and the company socialize in a posh hotel.

The basic premise of the film presents a problem with American audiences drawn to the film by the good notices it received from the local critics. Judging the reaction of the audience the other day at the Angelika, one wonders if the film was understood as almost no laughter could be heard in response to some of the clever and funny things happening on the screen. In fact, it seems baffling to this viewer the response of what appeared to be an audience of mostly cool NYU students.

What Mr. Winterbottom gets is excellent acting from most of this multi talented cast. Steve Coogan, with his deadpan delivery, and Rob Brydon, his sidekick, come out as the winners. Their timing is impeccable and their chemistry is real. Some of the other people in the cast include Shirley Henderson, Stephen Fry, Kelly MacDonald, Ian Hart, Jeremy Northam, Naomie Harris, Gillian Anderson and some other talented English actors, too many to mention all.

The excellent musical score by Michael Nyman enhances all what we are watching. Marcel Zyskind's cinematography gives the right look to the film. Ultimately, all credit for making the film the fun it is goes to Michael Winterbottom.


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