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This lavish historical drama based on the acclaimed novel by Rose Tremain won Oscars for Costume Design and Art Direction. Robert Downey, Jr. stars as Robert Merivel, a gifted medical student of the 17th century who ignores his studies in favor of pursuing debauched fun -- much to the consternation of his high-minded Quaker colleague John Pearce (David Thewlis). Merivel achieves the high societal status he covets when he's summoned by King Charles II (Sam Neill). Merivel is chagrined to find that he's expected to care for the king's ailing spaniel, but the dog rallies and Merivel… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Engaging if uneven."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"The movie takes on a somber, fitful atmosphere of straining epic proportions. But it strays into an episodic bog that leaves it gasping for dramatic life."
‑ Peter Stack, San Francisco Chronicle
"Gorgeous, witty romp that"
‑ Carol Cling, Las Vegas Review-Journal
"Despite its flaws, Restoration proves that Hollywood can at times treat history in satisfying manner."
‑ Dragan Antulov,
"Even when all decked out in foppish finery, looking absolutely ridiculous to the objective eye, [Downey] can't find a way to focus your attention on him. Instead, in looking at him, all you can do is wonder: How much did those duds cost?"
‑ Steve Davis, Austin Chronicle
"Since the robust 17th-century picaresque tale is not enjoying any current vogue, the success of "Restoration" can be considered a very pleasant surprise."
‑ Janet Maslin, New York Times
"Lively, lavish and grandly acted pageant."
‑ Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"An interesting evocation of a decadent era marked by opulence, excess and abject poverty. But works equally well as a study of personal redemption amidst the turmoil."
‑ Chuck O'Leary, Fantastica Daily
"Robert Downey, Jr. can do no wrong by me, and his expressiveness and irreverence are what make this film work. Seen through his eyes, the changing currents of the times are navigable only with large doses of dark humor and compassion."
‑ Jeanne Aufmuth, Palo Alto Weekly
"Somewhere in this potentially fascinating story of a man's life, the director caught epic fever and his characters got buried in breadth and depth of his ambition."
‑ Rob Blackwelder, SPLICEDWire
"The film is overcome by the rumbling workings of a creaky plot as the story grows more serious."
‑ Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
"Restoration avoids the pitfalls of pious historical reconstructions and plunges right into the cauldron."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Ryan's hilariously out of place, but this is otherwise an entertaining yarn."
‑ Rob Thomas, Capital Times (Madison, WI)
"Phantasmagorical film about a late bloomer who takes a long time to find and follow a path with heart."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"Even in period drag, this movie resembles warmed-over Forrest Gump."
‑ Cynthia Fuchs, Philadelphia City Paper
More reviews for Restoration on Rotten Tomatoes