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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 10,523 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."

Writers:

(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 ...
Trim
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

Taglines:

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

Country:

Language:

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)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stephen Rodrick was on set to interview Michael Winterbottom for the New York Times magazine (published on 3 July 2005) when he was roped in to appear in the film. See more »

Quotes

Tony Wilson: Why "Tristram Shandy"? This is the book that many people said is unfilmable.
Steve Coogan: I think that's the attraction. "Tristram Shandy" was a post-modern classic written before there was any modernism to be post about. So it was way ahead of its time and, in fact, for those who haven't heard of it, it was actually listed as number eight on the Observer's top 100 books of all time.
Tony Wilson: That was a *chronological* list.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in A Tour of Shandy Hall, Laurence Sterne's Home (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Sarabande
Composed by George Frideric Handel (as Georg Friedrich Händel)
Arranged by Michael Nyman
Performed by the Michael Nyman Band
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Film version of a possibly unfilmable--some might say unreadable--novel
8 October 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Just saw this at the New York Film Festival, where it was met with the wild enthusiasm and raucous laughter it so fully deserves.

I intentionally avoided reading any reviews before I went, as I was so curious to see how Winterbottom (whose "24-Hour Party People" I had loved) would approach this bear of a book.

The film begins with the two stars getting made-up and chatting about the size of their roles and the color of their teeth (the actors, who appeared with Winterbottom in the post-screening Q&A at the festival, assured the audience that this opening scene, as well as their conversation over the end credits, was completely improvised). The scene shifts to Tristram Shandy beginning the narration of his life with an anecdote about Groucho Marx--and proceeds to go wild from there.

The cast is made up of some of the finest actors in British television--apart from the two leads, Dylan Moran of "Black Books" and David Walliams of "Little Britain" appear, as well as Stephen Fry, Shirley Henderson, and a host of others, including a splendid turn by Keeley Hawes in a role that consists of little more than labor pains and screaming--and one American: Gillian Anderson in a couple of wonderful scenes, one as herself and the other as the Widow Wadman.

As one of the actors observes in the film, Laurence Sterne had written "a post-modern novel before modernism had even been invented," and Winterbottom honors that admirably.


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