The Libertine
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A man who lives for pleasure finds his hedonism betrays him in time in this film adaptation of the play by Stephen Jeffreys. The second Earl of Rochester, John Wilmot (Johnny Depp), was a notorious figure in 17th century Europe; well-respected as a poet and author, Wilmot also earned no small degree of gossip for his freewheeling sex life and appetite for decadence. Wilmot was close friends with Charles II (John Malkovich), the powerful and Machiavellian ruler of England, and enjoyed a passionate romance with Elizabeth Barry (Samantha Morton), an actress of note. But Wilmot's seemingly… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 33%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"What emerges from the bilious murk of first-time director Laurence Dunmore's film is a sad picture of an intelligent and talented writer who opted for self-indulgence and gratuitous insult over anything more meaningful."
‑ Peter Howell, Toronto Star
"A bawdy Restoration romp that doesn't. Romp."
‑ Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
"If Johnny Depp's barmy stumble through the yo-ho-hum Pirates sequel was playtime rehash, then his loathsome portrayal of the pestilent aristocrat Earl of Rochester shows an actor still daring to push the margins of his persona."
‑ Luke Goodsell, Empire Magazine Australasia
"Completely unshocking"
‑ Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion
"Under the veneer of another fine/creepy Depp performance, the film falls flat."
‑ Jason Gorber, Film Scouts
"As the character grows sicker and quieter, the drama's energy fades."
‑ Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
"From time to time, a gem-like line shines from the squalor, but in general, it's merely the film's suffocating cynicism that registers."
‑ Peter Debruge, Miami Herald
"Big dull drag of a movie."
‑ Dave White,
"Based on Stephen Jeffreys' play, about 17th century iconoclastic poet the 2nd Earl of Rochester (Johnny Depp), "The Libertine" fails to pay off on its promises of taboo sex."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"A difficult film to watch, but one that speaks to our own invidious world."
‑ Rex Roberts, Film Journal International
"The point seems to be that too much of a good thing leads to a vast sense of nothingness and bleak cinematography. Alas, it also results in transforming a film about a sensualist into a remarkably sexless enterprise."
‑ Neva Chonin, San Francisco Chronicle
"Depp's depraved character does have twisted poignancy."
‑ Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle
"Slightly pretentious, but original enough to be a bit interesting, and buoyed by strong performances from Depp and Morton, The Libertine is a decent telling of a historical footnote, most interesting because of its strong feminist message."
‑ Joshua Starnes,
"It feels both overlong and incomplete."
‑ Jonathan Kiefer, Sacramento News & Review
"[Director] Dunmore creates a memorably grimy London, but the moral grime covering the film proves less memorable."
‑ Keith Phipps, AV Club
More reviews for The Libertine on Rotten Tomatoes

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