.

Edward II

Tilda Swinton

Directed by Derek Jarman
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
October 18, 1991

Like Howards End, Edward II reaches back to the past — this time to a 1592 Christopher Marlowe play — to illuminate the present. Unlike E.M. Forster, British director Derek Jarman does not hide his homosexuality. Forster delayed publication of his gay-themed novel Maurice until after his death in 1970. Jarman, who is HIV positive, uses his films (Sebastiane, Caravaggio) to express his gay activism. The anachronistic liberties he takes with Marlowe expose contemporary gay-bashing and result in a mesmerizing film that bristles with fury, sexuality and radical wit.

After his father's death, Edward II (Steve Waddington) infuriates his barons and his French queen, Isabella (Tilda Swinton), by sending for his lover Gaveston (Andrew Tiernan). Jarman has designed the movie to jar complacency. Edward and Gaveston talk while two naked men tangle erotically in the background. Annie Lennox of Eurythmics pops up to serenade the lovers with a Cole Porter ballad. The elegant Isabella — Swinton is a sexy, roaring wonder in the role — becomes a gun-toting, bloodsucking vampire after losing her husband's affections. In showing the antigay prejudices behind Edward's violent fall, Jarman makes Edward II more than a visually arresting stunt; it's a piercing cry from the heart.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Madame George”

    Van Morrison | 1968

    One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com