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Barrymore, set in 1942, follows acclaimed American actor John Barrymore (Christopher Plummer), a member of one of Hollywood's most well-known multi-generational theatrical dynasties. No longer a leading box office star, the film finds Barrymore reckoning with the ravages of his life of excess. He has rented a grand, old theatre to rehearse for a backer's audition to raise money for a revival of his 1920 Broadway triumph in Richard III. It leads him to look back on the highs and lows of his stunning career and remarkable life. -- (C) The Film Sales Company
Directed By
© Independent Pictures

Available Online

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Think of it as one great performer saluting another."
‑ Robert Bianco, USA Today
"Mr. Plummer stumbles beautifully, poignantly and often, leering and searching through a haze of memory or, with concern edged with panic, calling for 'a line, a line' much as Richard III calls for a horse."
‑ Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Plummer is phenomenal, but be warned: you really have to like one-person shows in order to enjoy this 84-minute tour de force."
‑ James Plath, Movie Metropolis
"Christopher Plummer works hard to give us his idea of John Barrymore in this record of a theatrical tour-de-force, which is more dramatically florid than biographically enlightening."
‑ David Noh, Film Journal International
"Plummer commands the stage as easily and firmly as Barrymore must have. He makes us believe that Barrymore would indeed, as he tries to reach deep into his past and revive Richard, keep recalling his wives or breaking in to sing a pop song of the day."
‑ David Hinckley, New York Daily News
"You wish you could be seeing this performance live, as it's meant to be seen - but lacking that, "Barrymore" on the big screen provides its own thrills."
‑ Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
"In spite of creating a CGI world around Plummer, much is lost in this translation, making an impressive performance from him seem inert."
‑ Staci Layne Wilson,
"Director Erik Canuel fails to deliver us from the inevitable hermeticism of the material."
‑ Andrew Schenker, Slant Magazine
"The interest is in Plummer himself-who he is, what he can do."
‑ Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic
"Plummer is marvelous, flitting between reminiscence and Shakespearean recitation as a gifted artist aware of his own wretchedness."
‑ Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
"As an acting masterclass, it's educational and entertaining."
‑ James Croot,
More reviews for Barrymore on Rotten Tomatoes