.

Restoration

Robert Downey Jr., Polly Walker, Meg Ryan, Ian McKellen, Hugh Grant

Directed by Michael Hoffman
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
December 29, 1995

Don't be put off by Robert Downey Jr. in the funny hat. And stick with director Michael Hoffman and writer Rupert Walters, who have adapted Rose Tremain's novel of the 17th century, with high-stakes ambitions for this lively, lavish and grandly acted pageant. The film begins with Downey's Merivel, a student of medicine, putting his hand on a patient's exposed heart. His colleague John Pearce (David Thewlis) is amazed at Merivel's daring. So is King Charles II (a superbly sly Sam Neill), who sweeps him into the royal court, where Merivel degenerates into an idle party boy. For marrying Celia (Polly Walker), the king's mistress, on the condition that he will never bed her, Merivel is given an estate, a servant (Ian McKellen) and the freedom to debauch till he drops. The king's portraitist (Hugh Grant in foppish good form) is appalled. Merivel blows the deal by falling in love with Celia and rediscovering his passion to heal.

The film takes a grave turn when Merivel works with Pearce at an asylum, fathers a child by an inmate (a miscast Meg Ryan) and returns to London to battle the bubonic plague. Hoffman makes an $18 million budget look triply potent with awesome scenes such as the great fire of London. But spectacle is merely subtext for a message of hope. At the heart of this inspiring film is a vital AIDS parable that calls for the restoration of compassionate commitment in a modern age consumed by its own plague of indifference. Good show.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    • joe Nicolas Cage
      star rating
      Roadside Attractions
    • star rating
      Summit Entertainment
    • star rating
      Paramount Pictures
    More Reviews »
    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

    “Stillness Is the Move”

    Dirty Projectors | 2009

    A Wim Wenders film and a rapper inspired the Dirty Projectors duo David Longstreth and Amber Coffmanto write "sort of a love song." "We rented the movie Wings of Desire from Dave's brother's recommendation, and he had me go through it and just write down some things that I found interesting, and they made it into the song," Coffman said. As for the hip-hop connection, Longstreth explained, "The beat is based on T-Pain. We commissioned a radio mix of the song by the guy who mixes all of Timbaland's records, but the mix we made sounded way better, so we didn't use it."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com