The Lion in Winter
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King Henry II summons his prison-bound wife and three double-crossing sons to a Christmas holiday reunion where he plans to announce his succession plans.
Schemes and double-crosses abound in The Lion in Winter, the story of England's King Henry II (Patrick Stewart, Star Trek: The Next Generation, X-Men) as he manipulates (and is counter-manipulated) by his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine (Glenn Close, Dangerous Liaisons, Fatal Attraction), and their three ambitious sons, each of whom hopes to ascend to the throne. The ghost of the 1968 film version hangs over this 2003 miniseries; Stewart and Close can't match Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn in that classic. Nonetheless this new version is solid work, and though the witty dialogue verges into camp, the script's cunningly orchestrated machinations work like a charm, drawing the viewer in with every fiendish ploy and overturned expectation. Also featuring Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (Velvet Goldmine, Bend It Like Beckham) as the King of France. --Bret Fetzer
- Making-of featurette
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Top customer reviews
The supporting cast members are barely worth mentioning (with the exception of the exquisite Jonathan Rhys Meyers-his portrayal of King Phillip is genius in its coy, cloying, emotionally manipulative aggressiveness). The actress who played Alais was utterly irritating with her grating accent and flouncing (as opposed to gracefully walking). The sons, Richard and Geoffrey, did an admirable job (although Richard showed a bit too much angst at times-he appeared to be an immature teenager instead of a grown man). Geoffrey had fine moments, but John was an absolute disaster! What should've been a character with a childish devotion to daddy dearest came across as an imbecilic moron.
This "TLIW" can't hold a candle to the original both in character depth, production design (it's a medieval castle-why is it so sparkling fresh and clean?) and direction. This was a 2.5 star effort (truthfully based on the widespread appeal of Rhys Meyers).
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