(Note: this is based on a focus-group preview. I imagine they tried to fix it, but I can't imagine how they could have succeeded.)
In the 1600s Dutch investors created a speculative bubble involving tulips. Or at least, a book says that happened, although according to wikipedia the claim has its skeptics as to the extent of this supposed mania. Whether it really happened or not, Tulip Fever is about an illicit romance that gets mixed into Tulip speculation. It's from a book, and perhaps the book is interesting, but the movie is decidedly not.
There are a number of issues with the film. The main character, played by Alicia Vikander, has zero personality. Her lover has little more. The other main characters are a little better, but it's only small parts by Judy Dench as an acerbic nun and Tom Hollander as an amusingly sleazy doctor that display any real personality.
The bigger problem is the script. First off, the movie doesn't have much going on for the first half. Just an unhappy marriage leading to adultery.
A plot of sorts finally kicks in maybe halfway through with the Tulip part, but introduced at the same time is the first of some really stupid twists; a mistaken-identity bit that is remarkably unconvincing and leads to further, equally unconvincing problems.
Towards the end, there's another stupid turn in the story that is so poorly prepped that a character has to be asked if he's drunk to set up a problem because the movie has never bothered to indicate he's a heavy drinker or particularly untrustworthy. Then something both predictable and moronic happens.
There's also an absurd, unsatisfying ending.
I mean, there's more stupidity, but I don't need to list it all.
The story's plot turns are the ridiculous sort you might expect from a Shakespeare comedy, which would be fine if this were actually a comedy. Perhaps the scriptwriter's intended a comedy and the director failed to notice?
This was written by the guy who wrote Shakespeare in Love, and is clearly meant to scratch a similar itch, but it is not romantic, charming, humorous, or involving, so it misses the target completely.
I understand this movie had originally been intended for a release a few months ago and then was altered, so what I saw was presumably an attempt to fix a disaster. I hate to think what the earlier version must have been like.
When I saw this movie it was set for a February release - a delay on its original release date - but now apparently it's scheduled for August. So it had one delay before I saw it - presumably because the first version was even worse than this - and now there's another delay which I would guess is because they still hope to fix it.
The best thing to do would probably be to just bury it.
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