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The Libertine

Romance . Drama

The story of John Wilmot, a.k.a. the Earl of Rochester, a 17th century poet who famously drank and debauched his way to an early grave, only to earn posthumous critical acclaim for his life's work.

Actors: Samantha Morton , Johnny Depp , Richard Coyle , Johnny Vegas , Tom Hollander , Francesca Annis , Stanley Townsend , Paul Ritter , Rosamund Pike , John Malkovich
Directors: Laurence Dunmore
Release: 2006-03-10
More Info:
  • Peter Travers

    This one-of-a-kind spellbinder from first-time director Laurence Dunmore is not afraid to shock. Depp is a raunchy wonder, especially in a time-capsule-worthy opening monologue.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Andrea Gronvall

    As the imperious actress (and whore) Elizabeth Barry, the unlikely object of Wilmot's affection, Samantha Morton finds the soul in a woman who's hard as nails, and Tom Hollander and Rosamund Pike also provide excellent support. The haunting score is by Michael Nyman.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    This film isn't pretty, but it has some kick: It is to "Shakespeare in Love" what wild pheasant is to Chicken McNuggets.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    Depp accepts the character and all of its baggage, and works without a net.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Sheri Linden

    Johnny Depp makes a riveting antihero in a dark and bawdy period drama.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Melissa Levine

    An interesting film, and a good one, with a harrowing performance by Depp, whose apparent enjoyment of the role seems only to increase as his character deteriorates.

    Dallas Observer Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    As the depraved John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester, Johnny Depp adds yet another sly sleazoid to his burgeoning portrait gallery.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Maitland McDonagh

    Johnny Depp's coruscating, rigorously uningratiating performance as debauched, self-destructive 17th-century aristocrat John Wilmot, the Earl of Rochester, is the glue that doesn't quite hold together first-time director Laurence Dunmore's adaptation of Stephen Jeffreys' 1994 play.

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Illuminated by dim candles and the rare glimmer of sun, the movie is grainy, closed-in, and likely to cause spasms of claustrophobia.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Michael Wilmington

    It's a bit too muddy, dismal-looking and smoky to beguile us, too fixated on filth and too dreary-looking to really shock us.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Leslie Felperin

    Starting out seductive but ending up tiresome, debuting director Laurence Dunmore's pic is an honorable misfire.

    Variety Full Review
  • Anthony Lane

    Deep and Morton are really flying here (the scene in which the hero instructs the heroine in the passionate possibilities of her art), and they leave the rest of the film looking heavy on its feet. The second half, especially, grows dour and maundering, and by the end the movie seems to flail in desperation, more like a work in progress than like a finished piece.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Michael Atkinson

    The Libertine's trouble lies precisely in its efforts at conjuring the historical past: No one in the film seems much more convinced than I am that because playwrights and authors wrote in clever, high post-Elizabethan diction, then everyone spoke that way every day, in the pubs, with whores.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    The rhythms of the dialogue move to the same beat as steadily as a metronome ticks and tocks, while every sentence is polished like stone, absent the jaggedness of real breath and life. You can hear the play in this thing without even knowing it was based on a theatrical production.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Marc Savlov

    Do we like John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester? As played by Depp, this 17th-century nobleman-cum-travesty is a carriage crash of epic proportions, and so it's difficult not to crane your neck around to get a better view of the proceedings.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • M. E. Russell

    Unfortunately, the dialogue undermines the movie's promise.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Rick Groen

    A movie that serves up what its debauched subject would never have countenanced -- sanitized smut with a moral attached.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Michael Sragow

    But by the end, you're only watching to see how far Wilmot's pustules will spread, or whether his various diseases will really make his nose fall off.

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • Jack Mathews

    Not since Philip Kaufman's 2000 "Quills," the story of the Marquis de Sade, have we had so debauched a literary and movie hero, and Johnny Depp plays him with the relish of an actor who has made odd-ball characters his specialty.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    If your idea of a good time is watching a disjointed period piece featuring a scrawny dog defecating, dozens of dissipated people fornicating and a syphilitic Johnny Depp with oozing pustules on his face, The Libertine may be just the movie for you.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    A glorious disaster.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    What comes from the mouth of Johnny Depp...not the crucial spark of wit or insight that could encourage us to spend two hours with this cruel bore.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • Keith Phipps

    Dunmore creates a memorably grimy London, but the moral grime covering the film proves less memorable.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    A trying experience. As we watch Rochester fall apart in spectacular fashion, it's clear that a major lure for the venturesome Depp was the chance to play a grotesque, to become a pestilent physical wreck with an artificial silver nose. There's more in that role for the actor, however, than there is for us.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Desson Thomson

    It doesn't help matters that The Libertine seems to unload every olde English cliche on file.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • William Arnold

    Despite its title, the movie could hardly be less erotic. Indeed, promiscuity has never looked more totally unappealing, and its final scenes of Wilmot's advanced venereal disease are enough to make you take a vow of celibacy. A great date movie, this is not.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Peter Debruge

    What is most beguiling about The Libertine is that it allows Wilmot to self-destruct without ever giving us cause to care or relate.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Neva Chonin

    There is little debauchery to be had in Laurence Dunmore's adaptation of The Libertine. In fact, hedonism has never looked so bleak.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Scott Foundas

    The picture is an enormous disappointment... The result is one of the most self-consciously grimy movies on record - it looks as if the negative were developed in a mud bath.

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
  • Owen Gleiberman

    The Libertine is such a torturous mess that it winds up doing something I hadn't thought possible: It renders Johnny Depp charmless.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
Add Soundtrack
  • 11. Upon Drinking in a Bowl Performer: Michael Nyman & Michael Nyman Orchestra Stream Music Online
  • 14. Impromptu On an English Court Performer: Michael Nyman & Michael Nyman Orchestra Stream Music Online
  • 15. A Satire Against Reason Performer: Michael Nyman & Michael Nyman Orchestra Stream Music Online
  • 16. Upon Leaving His Mistress Performer: Michael Nyman & Michael Nyman Orchestra Stream Music Online
  • 18. The Imperfect Enjoyment Performer: Michael Nyman & Michael Nyman Orchestra Stream Music Online
  • 24. A Satire Against Mankind Performer: Michael Nyman & Michael Nyman Orchestra Stream Music Online
  • 25. A Ramble in St James's Park Performer: Michael Nyman & Michael Nyman Orchestra Stream Music Online