Mysteries of Lisbon
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Raul Ruiz's masterful adaptation of the eponymous nineteenth-century Portuguese novel (by Camilo Castelo Branco) evokes the complex intertwined narratives of Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens. The core story centers on Joao, the bastard child of an ill-fated romance between two members of the aristocracy who are forbidden to marry, and his quest to discover the truth of his parentage. But this is just the start of an engrossing tale that follows a multitude of characters whose fates conjoin, separate and then rejoin again over three decades in Portugal, Spain, France and Italy. --(C) Music… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The production design and costumes are immaculate, while Ruiz's camera glides around soirées, ducks under tables and peers from behind curtains."
‑ David Jenkins, Time Out
"This isn't one of those epics that uses length as a bludgeon. Rather than sweep, the movie spirals, twisting its viewpoint to reveal tales within tales."
‑ Mark Jenkins, Washington Post
"This is a film of labyrinthine storytelling and cinematic weaves of character and narrative that stretch across countries and time itself..."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Parallax View
"If you have time, dip in."
‑ Derek Malcolm, This is London
"This über-snooze of a costume epic, based on a Portuguese novel, has flickers of surreal invention like valedictory memory spasms."
‑ Nigel Andrews, Financial Times
"A sumptuous unravelling of secrets wrapped in tantalizing stories that gradually interconnect the lives of an ensemble of characters who seduce, betray and defend each other in the years surrounding the Peninsular War."
‑ Jennie Punter, Globe and Mail
"A sprawling 19th century novel filtered through the mind of a trickster filmmaker, the late Raúl Ruiz, who both delights in and subverts his wildly complex and melodramatic source material."
‑ Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle
"It is four and a half hours long, but it's got enough plot for at least 30 movies."
‑ Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Ebert Presents At The Movies
"[It reminds] us of Ruiz's gifts with light and colour, his ambitions with narrative, his sometimes interesting, sometimes frustrating remoteness, and his preoccupations with myth, the avant-garde and 19th-century classicism, all at once."
‑ Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph
"For those with open minds, the cinema of Ruiz offers enormous and unique pleasure."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"Based on the sprawling 19th-century novel by Camilo Castelo Branco, Chilean director Raul Ruiz renders an equally sprawling tale filled with love and war, violence and vengeance and the search for identity."
‑ Bruce Demara, Toronto Star
"It's a lot. But if you're at all inclined, it's just right."
‑ Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
"The duration is intimidating, but the time flies by in an engrossing movie that covers three generations over the late 18th and early 19th centuries and deals with themes - chance, identity, manipulation, multiple personality - that recur in Ruiz's oeuvre."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"Offers a Dickensian level of storytelling richness while unfurling the tangled personal history of a teenage boy seeking the truth about his parentage."
‑ Trevor Johnston, Radio Times
"Storytelling of breathtaking scale and grandeur, even if the complex plotting may twist your synapses along the way."
‑ David Parkinson, Empire Magazine
More reviews for Mysteries of Lisbon on Rotten Tomatoes