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The reason that many viewers may not cotton to this film is that it is one in which we are repeatedly misled as to what the film is above. Even with the hint of the film's title, which is at face value the term used to describe the reign of Charles II, "Restoration" makes more sense retrospectively. However, I liked the idea that my idea of what the film was about kept evolving. After all the times I have sat through predictable films and been ahead of the characters and the plot, I can certainly enjoy trying to keep up with a story for once and being surprised by the twists and turns in the narrative.
The story is about Robert Merivel (Robert Downey Jr.), a young physician of great promise who is summoned to court to attend to a patient at the command of the King (Sam Neill). Merivel succeeds, albeit more through luck than skill, and is appointed to a position in court. Seduced by life in the palace Merivel accepts the position, which means turning his back on his studies and his best friend John Pearce (David Thewlis), a Quaker.Read more ›
On the performances: I thought Robert Downey, Jr. did a pretty good job in the title role and that Sam Neill did a remarkably good job (with, I suspect, some tongue-in-cheek)embodying Charles II. I was less impressed by the women (and Hugh Grant), but they really had subordinate roles anyway. And Ian McKellan, who has always impressed me as a very physical actor, did a great job as an elderly rural servant. Best of all were the pack of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels who did a superb job of playing themselves!
While Pierce is a Quaker and quite serious, his friend Merivel is daring and a bit hedonistic, although extremely full of passion for the human condition. He is desperate to experience the joy in life and cannot find a balance in the London College of Medicine. He may be dedicated to medicine although just as dedicated to himself at the start of this beautiful period piece, set in the age of Restoration. While this is the climate for the movie, the 'Restoration' is more about Robert Merivel.
King Charles II, learning of his insightful methods, appoints him to be his court physician. While Merivel is rather bored and looking for some amusement in his own life, court life is exactly what the doctor ordered. He pleases the King and is knighted quickly only to learn that the reason why is to remove one of the King's mistresses, in wedlock, to his newly obtained estate away from court.
There is a condition based on this marriage and that is the ribald doctor is not to touch the King's mistress, Lady Celia. I would be remiss not to mention the wonderful actor Ian McKellen stars as the overseer of his newly acquired estate and that the King commissions his portrait artist (Hugh Grant) for a deviously comical situation.
This beautifully directed movie by Michael Hoffman, displays more like a two act saga. The above showing the gorgeous sets and costumery of the age along with all the legendary court decadence and debauchery.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
GREAT DRAMA WITH MANY ASPECTS. GREAT ACTING BY ALL. LOVE THE ENTIRE PLOT.Published 14 months ago by stephanie elsasser
Europe of the 1600's has often been an overlooked era, sandwiched between the idealism and art of the Elizabethan/Shakespearean Age (late 1500s) and the Enlightenment of the... Read morePublished 15 months ago by classicalsteve
This the dvd I ordered. What I received was a religious program on dvd. Very disappointed.Published 16 months ago by Sandra hinderer
two academy awards and another well acted role for Mr. Downey Jr. A-List well deserved!Published 19 months ago by Mark E. Fleming
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