In 1660, with the return of Charles II to the English throne, theater, the visual arts, science and sexual promiscuity flourish. Thirteen years later, in the midst of political and economical problems, Charles II orders the return of his friend John Wilmot, aka the second Earl of Rochester, from exile back to London. John is a morally-corrupt drunkard and a debauched, cynical poet. When the King asks John to prepare a play for the French ambassador so as to please him, John meets the aspiring actress Elizabeth Barry in the playhouse and decides to make her into a great star. He falls in love with her and she becomes his mistress. During the presentation to the King and the French ambassador, John falls into disgrace with the court. When he is thirty-three years old and dying of syphilis and alcoholism, he converts to being a religious man.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Richard Coyle and Jack Davenport both act in the sitcom Coupling. See more »
The Earl of Rochester reads an insulting poem he wrote about Charles II which implies that the King is impotent, and insists this "is true." In fact, Charles II was a noted womanizer who fathered at least a dozen illegitimate children by seven mistresses. See more »
Allow me to be frank at the commencement. You will not like me. The gentlemen will be envious and the ladies will be repelled. You will not like me now and you will like me a good deal less as we go on. Ladies, an announcement: I am up for it, all the time. That is not a boast or an opinion, it is bone hard medical fact. I put it round you know. And you will watch me putting it round and sigh for it. Don't. It is a deal of trouble for you and you are better off watching and drawing...
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Having experienced this as a "work in progress" at a festival, The Libertine was unlike many films I've seen--bizarre, vulgar, gory and difficult. And, though such a mix CAN work in some motion pictures, The Libertine just doesn't seem like one of them.
The Libertine takes place in 17th Century England and follows the questionable life of John Wilmot, the Earl of Rochester (a very atypical role played by Depp). Scenes of erotic images (not for the prude or faint of heart) seem to plague this film unnecessarily, as do bad modern puns spoken with a 17th century tongue (I found this to be very misplaced). One can argue that The Libertine was done in poor taste and dragged at many points, as does it leave the viewer completely puzzled in many areas.
However, the acting by Depp and all supporting cast was SUPERB, the costuming was wonderful and the grim atmosphere was achieved with utmost ease by the director (in his own words at the screening, he wished it to portray England as "a very dirty and vile place".) Like it or not, The Libertine will leave you thinking about it's message and images long after you leave the theater.
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