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Academy Award(r) nominees Natalie Portman and Javier Bardem star in two-time Academy Award(r) winning director Milos Forman's thrilling new romantic drama! Goya's Ghosts is a sweeping historical epic, told through the eyes of celebrated Spanish painter Francisco Goya (Skarsgard). Set against the backdrop of political turmoil at the end of the Spanish Inquisition and start of the invasion of Spain by Napoleon's army, the film captures the essence and beauty of Goya's work which is best known for both the colorful depictions of the royal court and its people, and his grim depictions of the brutality of war and life in 18th century Spain. When Goya's beautiful muse (Portman) is accused of being a heretic, renowned painter Francisco Goya (Skarsgard) must convince his old friend Lorenzo (Bardem), a power-hungry monk and leader of the Spanish Inquisition, to spare her life.
- A Making of Featurette
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"Disappointing" to some, maybe (given high expectations for this director, cast, and subject), but not "ridiculous", "silly", or a "disaster". If nothing else, it offers good production values (sets, sound, costumes, acting) in covering important historic developments that haven't been covered too much (AFAIK) by other major English-language films.
Critiques: There were far too many gringo actors playing Spanish roles. This is one of those movies that makes me wonder if sticking to true accounts would have actually been more interesting than the goofy embellished version of Goya's life seen here.
Francisco Goya is played by Stellan Skarsgard, who does a great job of portraying an ethical and moral actor in a world of chaos. His primary patrons, Carlos IV played perfectly by Randy Quaid and Queen Maria Luisa, played by Blanca Portillo, are engaging and entertaining. But it is the Inquisition activist monk, Brother Lorenzo, for whom this story really revolves. The constantly changing fortunes of Lorenzo depict the turmoil of the times. It is Lorenzo's fall from grace, his rise to power, and then his second fall which is the primary character development and trajectory of the film. Javier Bardem plays him well. His fall and rise and fall are contrasted against that of the victim, Ines, played by Natalie Portman. This poor character is victimized by the terror of the Inquisition, revealing the incredible bigotry of the Catholic Church toward the Jewish people. Her poor parents try to gain her release but to no avail. Here Foreman missed the mark. He depicts this wealthy family as being in distress at the arrest and imprisonment of their daughter, but he stops short of capturing and expressing the complete terror that such events would have for a family. Foreman makes the mistake of trying to tell a tale of horror, torture, cruelty, murder, and injustice but he also tries too hard to entertain