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Barrymore (2011)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 215 users   Metascore: 61/100
Reviews: 7 user | 14 critic | 10 from Metacritic.com

As John Barrymore reckons with the ravages of his life of excess, he rents an old theatre to rehearse for a backer's audition to raise money for a revival of his 1920 Broadway triumph in Richard III.

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As John Barrymore reckons with the ravages of his life of excess, he rents an old theatre to rehearse for a backer's audition to raise money for a revival of his 1920 Broadway triumph in Richard III.

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25 August 2012 (Australia)  »

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CAD 3,000,000 (estimated)
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Mostly for select audiences.
14 May 2013 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Unless you have seen John Barrymore perform, then you probably won't want to see this one. That's because today, very few even know exactly who Barrymore was. Practically everyone who saw him on stage has since died and unless you are an old movie fiend (like me), then you've probably not seen him in films. As for me, I am very familiar with him and his life--so it was natural that I'd get this DVD. But for the average person, I just can't see it being of a lot of interest.

Christopher Plummer plays the great actor in this film. As to the style, it really looks like a one-man play (with a second person offstage speaking a few lines) that has been filmed and released on DVD--and that's exactly what it is. Back in 1997, Plummer starred in the play "Barrymore" and he received the Tony Award for this performance. The play is set just before Barrymore's attempted comeback in 1942--the same year he died from the effects of alcohol.

As to whether or not this seems like John Barrymore, Plummer really doesn't look much like Barrymore. However, he does act like him--with some of the same mannerisms as well as the ability to play a genial drunk--which was what Barrymore generally was. But it's also very sad seeing a man playing a guy who WAS a great actor but who is only a step away from the grave due to his heavy drinking. Memory lapses, an inability to function without liquor and many reminiscences, this is basically what you'll see.

So is it any good? Well, if the film was about 30 or even 45 minutes, it would have been excellent. However, seeing a ruined, drunken wreck of a man talk and talk for 83 minutes is simply too much--even for a John Barrymore or Christopher Plummer fan. It becomes depressing and a bit tedious after a while. Worth seeing for the right person but difficult at the same time due to the subject matter. It's really a shame--Plummer is great in the role and should be commended for his performance.


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