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
Unlike most period films, this one was shot almost entirely with a hand-held camera. The two most notable shots with a fixed camera are the two panoramas of the interior of the theater, which was intentional. 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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Special thanks to Tracy, Billy and Stanley and all our Friends and Families See more »
The libertine - What a film... Despite its murkiness, and turgid subject matter, Johnny gives what has to be, his most intricate and breathtaking performance. The first forty-five minutes focuses mainly on John Wilmot's drunken and lecherous ways, and the final forty-five minutes (roughly at around the time that Johnny removes his wig), the sad and awful truth of the life of Rochester kicks in, and from then on, its a cracking story. At the final scene as the light fades along with the haunting words of Rochester's final monologue, I don't think that I would be alone in saying that I was moved to goosebumps and spine chills. Depp is just so intense that frankly, he is beyond brilliant. If the academy don't recognise him this time, I will personally have 'words' with Mr Weinstein! On the whole, an absorbingly different film that deserves all credit.
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