Restoration

"Good"

Restoration Review


Robert Downey's schizophrenic personality has finally found a home in Restoration. This sweeping film, set in 1660 England during the reign of the flamboyant Charles II (Sam Neill), tells the story of Merivel (Downey), who rides a rollercoaster from volunteer surgeon to King's veterinarian, to his fall from grace and his eventual rebirth.

Merivel, the kind of guy who pawns his medical instruments to buy time with prostitutes, starts out as a pretty loathsome chap. However, he's also a pretty talented (and daring) physician, and after healing the King's beloved spaniel, he is brought into the fold of nobility. But the story then takes an inexplicable turn as Merivel is given a knighthood and coerced to marry the King's mistress, Celia (Polly Walker), and then promptly falls in love with her.

And just when you get used to this, he is discovered and cast out, penniless. Merivel returns to caring for the poor with his old friend Pearce (David Thewlis), and falls in love with one of his insane patients, Katherine (Meg Ryan, cast as an Irish mental patient, if you can imagine that). And then there's the plague and the big fire that burned down London, and Merivel somehow comes out of this a hero and a changed man to boot.

A downright silly script is the fundamental flaw in Restoration. What starts out as a funny, genuine character-driven drama quickly degenerates into a couple of bland love stories that don't even fit together. There's a lot of good acting here (with the notable exception of Ryan), but the parts don't give the stars a lot of room to work. Neill's King Charles is a true standout, pulling off the dichotomy between royal grace and bawdy humor with ease.

Restoration is also one of the most exquisitely rendered period pieces I've ever seen, replete with fully-laden palaces and disgustingly realistic plague victims. But details do not a movie make, and all-in-all, Restoration comes across as a film in which the sum of the parts is much greater than the picture as a whole.



Restoration

Facts and Figures

Run time: 117 mins

In Theaters: Friday 8th March 1996

Distributed by: Miramax

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 69%
Fresh: 22 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: Robert Downey Jr. as Robert Merivel, as Katharine, as King Charles II, as John Pearce, as Elias Finn

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.