From the Back Cover
At the turn of the 19th century, poetry, love and betrayal bound together William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The duo who would become literary icons collaborated during a tumultuous period of political and romantic idealism - and their friendship followed a similarly tumultuous course. The men experience rivalry, jealousy and addiction in their ultimately diverging quests for artistic freedom.
- MPAA rating : s_medPG13 PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
- Product Dimensions : 7.75 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 3.84 Ounces
- Director : Julien Temple
- Media Format : Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
- Run time : 2 hours and 4 minutes
- Release date : February 12, 2002
- Actors : Linus Roache, John Hannah, Samantha Morton, Emily Woof, Emma Fielding
- Producers : David M. Thompson, Jane Robertson, Michael Kustow, Mike Phillips, Nick O'Hagan
- Studio : Polygram USA Video
- ASIN : B00005UQ9G
- Writers : Frank Cottrell Boyce
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Dazzling images, rich colors, transporting words & fine acting all contribute to an intense & moving film experience. Highly recommended!
However, I weighed the facts: I love both the poems of Coleridge and of Wordsworth that I have read. They are epic and broad in scope, as well as eloquent and lyrical. I am also an admirer of both Linus Roache and John Hannah's work, and find Julian Temple an interesting director to say the least. I thought: how bad could this combination be? My didactical reasoning won out and I bought and viewed this film, and I'm glad of it. And I can only recommend that others follow my lead.
Is it historically accurate? As far as I know, which is not a lot, in this matter - no! That said, it is trying to make a statement, not be a documentary. Is Wordsworth displayed as an ogre in favor of praising Coleridge's drug-assisted genius? Not really. Wordsworth's opinion - that Coleridge's genius was not worth every price - was fairly portrayed in the film. Coleridge's drug addition is also not prettied up, or made to look romantic. Fair is fair. They were both geniuses in their own right, but - like us all - mortals as well, with all the flaws that go with it. They obviously became rivals, which is also - unfortunately - very human; we the audience have the opportunity to recognize that we don't need to choose between them.
Panning this film for its historical inaccuracies is like the Maritimer shooting the albatross...it goes against the nature of the thing. Experience the film as a poem, and relax about the details. Isn't that what both of their poetry tried to teach us?
Beautifully acted and magnificently filmed. Please give this little gem a chance!
The movie never leaves its 'modern sensibility as subtext' even as it embraces the nuances and detail of late-18th/early 19th century England.
The acting is great, the photography beautiful, the plot fun: actually, the more you know, the funnier this is, and I think intentionally so.
Top reviews from other countries
Although the nasty-and-jealous character of William Wordsworth may not be wholly accurate (which many academics have hated Julien Temple for) it makes sense for the story as dramatic obstacle and to highlight wider British social and historical issues as the country descends into boring Victoriana, and well - sort of loses its "cool".
Also represented by some of the cream of British acting talent by the way - with both Emily Woof and Samantha Morton in the two strong female roles, this is a really brave and inspiring attempt, and featuring real shots from the beautiful English West Country that Coleridge and Wordworth wrote in, and in which director Julien Temple himself grew up (but he'll tell you that in his commentary and if you don't know anything about the poetry and times either don't worry because he'll explain the lot).
While not strictly sticking to the facts at times, who cares? It is the director's zest for the period that shines through. And after all Romanticism was all about Byron's immortal line: ''Tis to create and in creating live'. It is Julien Temple's masterpiece and I beg him to produce more like it.
There are some entertaining 'extras' where the actors' enthusiasm is clearly genuine. One reading of the poem Kubla Khan, each line with a different reader brings the poem to life.
Words to sum up this film for me include beauty, depth, incite, spirit. The irregular intrusion of the modern world into the story of the relationship between Coleridge and Wordsworth was not laughable nor blasphemous, but was instead a clever and laudable way of demonstrating the solid links between Coleridge's prophesying poetry and the dangers of breaking the bonds of nature in the 21st century. So shots of jetstreams, nuclear power stations, oil spills, mobile telephones and television aerials only added to the pleasure that this film evokes.
By the way, the music is wonderful, one of the first soundtracks by Dario Marianelli. Shame it's not available on CD.
If I have one criticism, it is the speaking of the poetry itself. It is too regular in metre and too flat in tone. Where is the emotion. The speakers could just as well have been reciting the telephone directory for all the meaning that could be gleaned from those wonderful words. But apart from this minor cavil, the film is otherwise faultless, a classic that will hopefully become more and more worthy as the years progress.