Michael Hoffman (1995)

15 Certificate


Our Score
This adaptation of Rose Tremain's novel by Michael Hoffman is a period movie that, like Fellini's Satyricon, treats the past as something very, very strange. Making use of Forde Abbey and other historic sites, the Oscar-winning design is astonishing. The court of Charles II resembles Nero's and the picture subversively suggests that the foppish king, surrounded by spaniels, sycophants and willing women, lit the Great Fire of London to purge the plague and build a new capital, Rome. The casting is as weird as the settings: Sam Neill as the cholic king; Robert Downey Jr as a womanising medic; Hugh Grant as a splendidly pompous artist in residence; but what on earth is Meg Ryan doing as a traumatised hospital patient? This is a flawed picture with flashes of crazy brilliance.


A doctor enjoys a luxurious life of fine food and wanton women in the court of King Charles II - until he falls for the monarch's mistress. Oscar-winning period drama, starring Robert Downey Jr, Sam Neill, Meg Ryan, Ian McKellen, Hugh Grant and David Thewlis.

Cast & Crew

Robert Merivel Robert Downey Jr
King Charles II Sam Neill
John Pearce David Thewlis
Celia Polly Walker
Katherine Meg Ryan
Will Gates Ian McKellen
Finn Hugh Grant
Ambrose Ian McDiarmid
Director Michael Hoffman
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Buena Vista International UKGuidance: Contains brief nudity and some gory scenes. Available on: video