6.8/10
130,946
214 user 294 critic

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)

Trailer
1:44 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
A traveling theater company gives its audience much more than they were expecting.

Director:

Reviews
Popularity
2,043 ( 56)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Adventure | Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Will and Jake Grimm are traveling con-artists who encounter a genuine fairy-tale curse which requires true courage instead of their usual bogus exorcisms.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Monica Bellucci
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An oddball journalist and his psychopathic lawyer travel to Las Vegas for a series of psychedelic escapades.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Tobey Maguire
Drama | Fantasy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A hugely talented but socially isolated computer operator is tasked by Management to prove the Zero Theorem: that the universe ends as nothing, rendering life meaningless. But meaning is what he already craves.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: Christoph Waltz, Lucas Hedges, Mélanie Thierry
The Rum Diary (2011)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

American journalist Paul Kemp takes on a freelance job in Puerto Rico for a local newspaper during the 1960s and struggles to find a balance between island culture and the expatriates who live there.

Director: Bruce Robinson
Stars: Johnny Depp, Giovanni Ribisi, Aaron Eckhart
Tideland (2005)
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Because of the actions of her irresponsible parents, a young girl is left alone on a decrepit country estate and survives inside her fantastic imagination.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Tilly, Jodelle Ferland
Casanova (2005)
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Heath Ledger plays the fabled romantic as a man who, after failing to win the affection of a particular Venetian woman, strives to discover the real meaning of love.

Director: Lasse Hallström
Stars: Heath Ledger, Sienna Miller, Jeremy Irons
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate the decapitations of 3 people with the culprit being the legendary apparition, the Headless Horseman.

Director: Tim Burton
Stars: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

After his master dies, a peasant squire, fueled by his desire for food and glory, creates a new identity for himself as a knight.

Director: Brian Helgeland
Stars: Heath Ledger, Mark Addy, Rufus Sewell
Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A gentle man, with scissors for hands, is brought into a new community after living in isolation.

Director: Tim Burton
Stars: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Richard Riddell ...
...
Martin's Girlfriend
...
...
...
...
...
Policeman
Lorraine Cheshire ...
Mum
...
Dad
Lewis Gott ...
Sian Scott ...
Simon Day ...
Uncle Bob (as Simon Daye)
Moya Brady ...

What You Missed at San Diego Comic-Con 2017

From the madness of the convention floor to the emotional panel reveals and star-studded interviews, catch up on all the unforgettable sights from Comic-Con.

Browse Our Guide to Comic-Con

Edit

Storyline

In London, the sideshow troupe of Doctor Parnassus promises the audience a journey to the "Imaginarium", an imaginary world commanded by the mind of Doctor Parnassus, where dreams come true. In the stories that Doctor Parnassus tells to his daughter Valentina, the midget Percy, and his assistant Anton, he claims to have lived for more than one thousand years; However, when he fell in love with a mortal woman, he made a deal with the devil (Mr. Nick), trading his immortality for youth. As part of the bargain, he promised his son or daughter to Mr. Nick on their sixteenth birthday. Valentina is now almost to the doomed age and Doctor Parnassus makes a new bet with Mr. Nick, whoever seduces five souls in the Imaginarium will have Valentina as a prize. Meanwhile the troupe rescues Tony, a young man that was hanged on a bridge by the Russians. Tony was chased until he finds and joins the group. Tony and Valentina fall in love with each other and the jealous Anton discovers that his ... Written by RubyRed, Seattle, Washington USA

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The man who tried to cheat the devil.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violent images, some sensuality, language and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

| | |

Language:

| |

Release Date:

8 January 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El imaginario mundo del Doctor Parnassus  »

Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£905,786 (UK) (16 October 2009)

Gross:

$7,689,458 (USA) (21 May 2010)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

After the death of Heath Ledger, production was shut down for a few months. Then it was re-started when Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell agreed to complete Ledger's role. The film's fantasy premise, and some clever re-writes, let the actors play a man whose appearance changes as he travels between imaginary worlds. See more »

Goofs

When Dr. Parnassus is following Valentina through the concourse two young school girls in uniform pass him. Moments later when he's outside looking in the window, the same two girls can be seen entering the library. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Parnassus: [Repeated line] What would I do without you, Percy?
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the credits, Tony's mobile ring tone can clearly be heard See more »


Soundtracks

Dub The House
Written & Performed by Dave Howman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Rajo loves it, but knows it won't work... how tragic...
4 January 2010 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Just before leaving to go and see The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, the latest offering from the perpetually 'unlucky' yet stubbornly visionary Terry Gilliam (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Time Bandits), I asked a good friend, also a movie buff, if he wanted to come with.

"No way," he proclaimed. "I can't sit through a Terry Gilliam movie." Having sat through the 2 hour + film myself, I'm convinced he made the right decision, as I even had a tough time with it. It's definitely too long, rarely makes sense and feels as though it might unravel at any minute. As usual, Gilliam's imagination takes over the film, running completely wild in every direction, resulting in a rich visual feast that's a delight to look at. As usual, though, this comes at the expense of clarity and accessibility, which is unfortunate, especially so considering the multiple real-world challenges that severely disrupted the film's production and its theoretical comprehensibility anyway. Is Gilliam ever gonna catch a break? And, if he does, will he be relaxed enough to create something that more that a handful of folks might like? This film's script (mostly unchanged, despite production difficulties) will definitely try one's patience; characters make weird choices and important plot elements are left unexplained. As a decision seemingly made to serve the story, most of Gilliam's film operates on a kind of dream logic, which at the best of times put a huge grin on my face and made me feel all gooey inside and at the worst of times pulled me right out of the film, faster than a spilled cold Coke in the lap. As an example of the latter, one would think that Gilliam, having famously made the creative decision to bolster the late Heath Ledger's incomplete performance with the work of Johnny Depp, Colin Farrel and Jude Law, might have installed some sort of interesting yet logical plot device allowing that singular character to appear physically different at times. Sadly, the reasoning is, for some reason, half-baked - the other characters in the film are just as puzzled as the audience is at the changes, even going way too far with their "No, wait... who are you?" line of questions. If one's own characters seem to think it's out of place, then the audience will have no choice but to question it as well. Disbelief: unsuspended and resolute in its anchor-like stolidity (how's that for a sentence?).

Now, despite all that, I absolutely, positively and without question adored The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. Because Gilliam is really, really good at what he does best. It's far and away one of my favourite films of the year, and easily the most important film of Gilliam's career, warts and all. With Parnassus, he continues to stylistically explore potent ideas about the power of storytelling and imagination, and what happens when the worlds of fables and make-believe collide with our cynical, sober reality - all concepts I personally go nuts over. When in this mode, he always managed to sub-textually raise questions about imagination and dreams as important sign-posts in our collective unconscious, lighting the way to collective and individual hope, joy and happiness. The difference with Parnassus is that Gilliam has finally made a film that is explicitly and without question about that exact thing, positing at its core that stories and imagination and new ideas are the very things that hold the fabric of the universe together. A beautiful idea, and as relevant as ever considering Hollywood's constant push for the bottom line over creative integrity, and Gilliam's own personal feelings regarding his stifled creativity and the uncertainty of his place in modern cinema. And if you're anything like me (Naive? Simple?), this stuff, when fused with Gilliam's impeccable eye for composition and always fantastic production design will help you forget that the film isn't perfect or logical or accessible.

Despite all of the aforementioned flaws in the story (which, understandably, most movie-goers may have a low tolerance for), The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus is actually quite brilliant, and contains some of the single best movie moments and ideas seen all year, and by dint of its stellar cast (besides Heath Ledger and friends, the film stars Christopher Plummer and Tom Waits, both in memorable roles), serves as a showcase for some of the best talent working in film at the time of production. But because of its flaws, it probably won't generate the word of mouth necessary to bring the crowds (and as such, the box office receipts) that Gilliam so desperately needs in order to continue to be able to make films of this scale. Which is too bad, as directors like Gilliam, who so zealously worship at the alter of imagination and visual splendour with a slavish dedication to film-making craft are not so high in abundance. Maybe if he was actually able to, you know, make a film without having outside elements messing up his plans, he might actually live up to his ultimate potential as an original story-teller able to easily reach the masses. As it stands, though, his status as such, as well as the very fabric of the universe it seems, continue to be under threat.

My score? 7/10.


74 of 120 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?