Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA/United Kingdom, 1995. Avenue Pictures, Miramax, Segue Productions, The Oxford Film Company. Screenplay by Rupert Walters, based on the novel by Rose Tremain. Cinematography by Oliver Stapleton. Produced by Sarah Black, Cary Brokaw, Andy Paterson. Music by James Newton Howard. Production Design by Eugenio Zanetti. Costume Design by James Acheson. Film Editing by Garth Craven.
Robert Downey Jr. is excellent in this period version of Jerry Maguire, as a successful Renaissance court surgeon who hits rock bottom after seriously avoiding his true calling (he has a gift for understanding humanity, or so his friend David Thewlis tells him). After losing everything material and falling from grace with the King (Sam Neill), Downey instead regains his soul and makes a few friends along the way (including an oddly cast Meg Ryan as what can only described as a ‘wench’). There is absolutely nothing memorable about the writing or the performances of this middling drama (even Hugh Grant‘s stuttering hilarity won’t stay with you for long), but it’s worth seeing for the outstanding art direction and costumes, which deservedly garnered Academy Awards for their richness and detail.
Academy Awards: Best Art Direction; Best Costume Design
Berlin Film Festival: In Competition