The Libertine

I have finally seen “The Libertine” – It certainly nailed Rochester‘s self-destructive tendencies, but it ultimately pushes him too far over the edge into a charicature of himself, if such a thing is possible. It’s an odd movie, which seems to become more Hollywood even as it pushes Hollywoodisms away. Why else would Rochester, dying of syphilis, pry himself from his deathbed to make a fantastic speech in favor of Charles II, the king who earlier in the film sentenced him to that most horrible of fates, being ignored?
Admittedly I am a fangirl of the Earl and a firm believer in both his talent and his tragedy. But I don’t believe he was the angry, despairing fellow of this film.
Much of the film is good. Seeing some of “Sodom” staged was fantastic (though of course there is no proof it ever was staged, let alone in front of the King and a French ambassador). I do wish they’d kept the bit where he overturned Charles’ expensive, fancy sundial — as soon as they showed it in the film I remembered that anecdote. Ah, well. We can’t have everything. Taken as a whole I don’t much care for it, but I’m glad it’s getting him more exposure – maybe they’ll do another take on his life that won’t be quite so frustrating to scholars like me.
I’m such an optimist. :)

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One Response to The Libertine

  1. Myshka says:

    Have never heard of this movie. How interesting! Thanks for the post.