The story takes place in sixteenth century England. But men like Sir Thomas More, who love life yet have the moral fiber to lay down their lives for their principles, are found in every century. Concentrating on the last seven years of the English Chancellor's life, the struggle between More and King Henry VIII hinges on Henry's determination to break with Rome so he can divorce his current wife and wed again, and good Catholic More's inability to go along with such heresy. More resigns as Chancellor, hoping to be able to live out his life as a private citizen. But Henry will settle for nothing less than that the much respected More give public approval to his headstrong course.Written by
Selected by the Vatican in the "religion" category of its list of 45 "great films". See more »
In the beginning of the film, when the messenger is being rowed to Thomas More's house, the sun is setting in the sky, it is obvious that daylight is fading. When the messenger arrives at More's house, the daylight is no longer fading and instead the brightness of the day indicates early afternoon or even morning. See more »
This is one of my favorite films. It is of perfect length and pacing, and the script is one of the best ever written. The acting, direction, and design of this movie are uniformly excellent. The segue into Henry VIII's entrance is alone reason for seeing the movie. The production design is top-notch, both beautiful and--unlike many "costume dramas"--not so overwhelming as to lose the actors among outrageous sets and costumes. For an adaptation of a stage play, a remarkable proportion of the action taking place outdoors, with More's house at Chelsea being particularly lovely.
It's very easy to see this film superficially as a moral fable, and many people scoff at it as being a stagy morality play. But it's both more subtle and more vibrant that that. The subtlety of Robert Bolt's script lies in its exploration of identity. We're not meant to identify or admire More's religious ideas, which the movie actually tiptoes around. Instead it's what Bolt called More's "adamantine sense of his own self" that the movie really highlights.
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