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Independent filmmaker Sally Potter's gender-bending epic, which views four centuries of sexual politics through the eyes of a sex-switching main character, is based on the 1928 novel by Virginia Woolf. The androgynous title character is played with delicate quietude by Tilda Swinton. The story begins during the reign of the aging Queen Elizabeth I (Quentin Crisp, in a droll turn recalling his The Naked Civil Servant). Queen Elizabeth takes a shine to the attractive young Orlando and seeks out his sexual favors. In return, Elizabeth grants him a large estate, commanding him, "Do not… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A silly and serious work of art that isn't afraid to entertain."
‑ Dan Kois, Slate
"It is a time-tripping, gender-bending fantasia with a cunning feminist edge, featuring the strikingly androgynous Tilda Swinton in the title role."
‑ Joe Leydon, The Moving Picture Show
"Eighteen years after its initial theatrical release, "Orlando" returns to theaters with all of its original allure intact, and then some."
‑ Eric Kohn, indieWIRE
"I would imagine such a bizarre film would appeal mainly to those with a discriminating taste."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"A visually stunning screen adaptation of Virginia Woolf's 1928 novel."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"Swinton's androgynous affect has rarely been better exploited: It's a kick to see her transition among Orlando's numerous identities, whether wooing a Russian princess or submitting to the charms of the horseback-riding Shelmerdine."
‑ Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
"It's very specifically planned, and defiantly oddball."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Rarely have source material, director, and leading actress been more in alignment than in Orlando, the 1992 adaptation of Virginia Woolf's novel, directed by Sally Potter and starring Tilda Swinton."
‑ Matthew Connolly, Slant Magazine
"Tilda Swinton is perfectly cast in Sally Potter's lavish, daring, and inventive adaptation of Virginia Woolf's novel."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"A daring, daunting, playful work of some considerable intellectual force that just misses greatness owing to a lack of emotional weight."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"This is the kind of movie you want to talk about afterward."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Potter recreates four centuries of British cultural history in painterly images and austerely constructed settings..."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Parallax View
"Warmer color and sound enhance this new release print, but the film's wry humor, action fantasy, and a literary leaning may make for tough sledding with today's viewers."
‑ Donald J. Levit, ReelTalk Movie Reviews
‑ Leonard Klady, Movie City News
"Tilda Swinton gets metrosexual in Sally Potter's surreal and unique costume drama."
‑ Rob Vaux, Flipside Movie Emporium
More reviews for Orlando on Rotten Tomatoes