Young nobleman Orlando is commanded by Queen Elizabeth I to stay forever young. Miraculously, he does just that. The film follows him as he moves through several centuries of British ...
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In this Derek Jarman version of Christopher Marlowe's Elizabethan drama, in modern costumes and settings, Plantagenet king Edward II hands the power-craving nobility the perfect excuse by ... See full summary »
Young nobleman Orlando is commanded by Queen Elizabeth I to stay forever young. Miraculously, he does just that. The film follows him as he moves through several centuries of British history, experiencing a variety of lives and relationships along the way, and even changing sex.Written by
Thoroughly Engaging, Fun, and Visually Compelling.
Tilda Swinton was born for this role. She IS Orlando. But that preoccupation aside, the first striking aspect of this film is the costumes! It opens on a scene with Orlando in Elizabethan finery, and moves through several historical periods, not least of them 18th Century literary England. That's something to see. The film is, as you would expect, very literary. You don't need to have read the book, but a working knowledge of typical euro-centric history and literature is helpful, I guess. Quentin Crisp plays a perfect Queen Elizabeth, the grotesque Institution herself, opposite Swinton's birdish Orlando. The photography is clear and even luminous at times, and the story moves along quite well--I consistently wondered what would happen. The exploration of gender, while it was obviously "the point", was not overdone, in the last analysis. Our freakish Orlando turns out to be quite human, which is a relief. The film is very well done; Swinton is a rare bird, never boring, and not to be missed.
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