7.2/10
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The Physician (2013)

In Persia in the 11th Century, a surgeon's apprentice disguises himself as a Jew to study at a school that does not admit Christians.

Director:

Philipp Stölzl

Writers:

Noah Gordon (based on the novel by), Jan Berger (screenplay by) | 3 more credits »
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Popularity
4,805 ( 30)
5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Payne ... Rob Cole
Stellan Skarsgård ... Barber
Olivier Martinez ... Shah Ala ad Daula
Emma Rigby ... Rebecca
Elyas M'Barek ... Karim
Fahri Yardim ... Davout Hossein
Makram Khoury ... Imam (as Makram J. Khoury)
Michael Marcus ... Mirdin
Ben Kingsley ... Ibn Sina
Stanley Townsend ... Bar Kappara
Emil Marwa Emil Marwa ... Tuveh Ben Meir
Martin Hancock ... Merlin
Adam Thomas Wright ... Rob Cole (10 Years) (as Adam Wright)
Jodie McNee ... Agnes Cole
Dominique Moore ... Despina
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Storyline

When nine-year-old Rob Cole felt the life force slipping from his mother's hand he could not foresee that this terrifying awareness of impending death was a gift that would lead him from the familiar life of 11th-century London to small villages throughout England and finally to the medical school at Ispahan. Though apprenticed to an itinerant barber surgeon, it is the dazzling surgery of a Jewish physician trained by the legendary Persian physician Avicenna that inspires him to accept his gift and to commit his life to healing by studying at Avicenna's school. Despite the ban on Christian students, Rob goes there, disguising himself as a Jew to gain admission. Gordon has written an adventurous and inspiring tale of a quest for medical knowledge pursued in a violent world full of superstition and prejudice. Written by Literary Guild alternate

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A journey out of darkness into light


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violent content, sexuality/nudity and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was based on a best-selling novel by Noah Gordon's "The Physician". The book was recorded in 1999 at the Book Fair in Madrid, in the list of the ten most popular books of all time. See more »

Goofs

Isfahan is supposedly attacked by Seljuq (not to be confused with Seleucids) forces under the command of Tugrul Bey in the final days of Ibn Sina, 1037. But that year, Bey sacked Ghazni instead, some 1575 Kilometers away. Seljuk empire did not conquer Isfahan and made it its capital until 1051. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Barber: [performing for a crowd] Back and forth, up and down, left to right, for more than one hundred years. But nowhere have I had the pleasure of looking out upon a crowd with prettier girls than here in your wonderful Rough Dovender. Why do I specially like it here because... I always lay me best eggs here.
Barber: [starts imitating a chicken, then produces an egg]
See more »

Alternate Versions

German TV version runs approx. 30 minutes longer. See more »

Soundtracks

Amor es Aquella Cosa
Lyrics by Schirin Partowi
Music Composed by Ingo Frenzel and Schirin Partowi
Performed by Schirin Partowi
Orchestra: Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg
See more »

User Reviews

 
Wondrous movie, about the good old days. Sort of :)
21 August 2014 | by sideriteSee all my reviews

The two hours and a half movie has a lot of good things going for it. First there is the acting, coming from people that are mostly quite unknown, but which is good even for actors in secondary roles. Stellan Skarsgård and Ben Kingsley do, as expected, a great job. Then there are the landscapes, starting from wet green Britain and ending in the Arabian desert. But of course, the best of it all is the story.

In an age where Europe is a cesspool of ignorance and filth, while the East is where the knowledge resides, the plot follows a young boy witnessing the death of his mother from an incurable disease, which I assume is appendicitis, and grows to want to become a healer. Pretending to be a Jew, he travels to the Middle East to train with a famous and wise healer, played by Kingsley. He proceeds in defeating diseases, healing friends and finding the love of his life, while religious extremism and violence stretch through the region.

Now, I have some qualms with some of the details of the story. I understand they tried to describe a larger piece of history in the span of a single movie and I also understand that drama requires brutal realism while the mechanisms of movie making require happy endings and satisfying the money people. However, there are some things that just don't sit well, like presenting Europeans as filthy barbarians using their faith only to oppress, the Arabs as either tyrants or violent zealots, while Jews are all nice, helpful and never take up weapons to hurt anyone. This kind of unilateral bias sours an otherwise quite nice and beautiful story. The repeated scenes of the Torah burning (oy vey) while tomes of medical knowledge burning in Ibn Sina's university were mere an afterthought is one of those things, too.

Bottom line: the switch from filthy barbarism to enlightened richness, from decadence to overzealous morality, from peaceful people to thieves and murderers and all back again makes for an inconsistent world. However it is a nicely presented world, with interesting well played characters in epic journeys that change their and the viewer's perspective on the world. A well done movie, I would have preferred it less biased and more focused, but one can't look a horse gift in the mouth; after all, how many new movies are there to advocate science and knowledge over special effects and cheap emotions? Good film. You should watch it.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]

Country:

Germany

Language:

Arabic | Hebrew | English

Release Date:

5 December 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Physician See more »

Filming Locations:

Morocco See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$36,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$57,284,237
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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