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"THE LIBERTINE"
(2005) (Johnny Depp, Samantha Morton) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Moderate Heavy Minor Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Moderate None None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Minor Heavy Moderate Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: After being reinstated from banishment by the new king, a 17th century poet and courtier returns to his former ways of debauchery when he becomes the mentor and lover of a struggling actress.
PLOT:
It's 1660 and the beginning of the period known as the Restoration has begun with the ascension of King Charles II (JOHN MALKOVICH) to the throne. Accordingly, court poet and courtier John Wilmot, the 2nd Earl of Rochester (JOHNNY DEPP), has had his one-year banishment absolved. Known for his outrageous and bawdy satire as well as having previously kidnapped Elizabeth Malet (ROSAMUND PIKE) who later became his wife, John quickly returns to his old ways.

While not discussing libidinous issues with friends and fellow writers Sir George Etherege (TOM HOLLANDER) and Charles Sackville (JOHNNY VEGAS) or enjoying the company of his prostitute friend Jane (KELLY REILLY), John takes in a servant, Alcock (RICHARD COYLE), and begins penning a performance for the King who doesn't realize it will be about him. But he's most taken with young Elizabeth Barry (SAMANTHA MORTON), a struggling actress who he decides to take under his wing and both mentor and seduce.

Although his mother (FRANCESCA ANNIS) doesn't look highly upon his behavior, neither that nor anything else stymies him. Yet, as he juggles the various women in his life and continues his life of debauchery and drink, his very lifestyle begins to lead him down the path toward self-destruction.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of someone in the cast or are interested in the historical aspects of the story, it doesn't seem too likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong sexuality including dialogue, violence and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JOHNNY DEPP plays the poet and courtier who's returned to his place of prominence by the King. He's an unlikable sort and knows it, has two lovers besides his wife, uses strong profanity, drinks a lot, and becomes Elizabeth's theatrical mentor.
  • SAMANTHA MORTON plays the young actress who grows from an insecure to accomplished performer under his tutelage. She also becomes his lover and uses some strong profanity.
  • JOHN MALKOVICH plays the King who reverses John's banishment in hopes of that helping restore his liberal arts program, but is upset when he becomes the target of the writer's work.
  • ROSAMUND PIKE plays John's wife who he kidnapped before their marriage and must put up with his adulterous ways and other behavior.
  • TOM HOLLANDER plays John's close friend and fellow writer who's part of their inner circle of debauchery.
  • JOHNNY VEGAS plays their other friend who joins them in their libidinous frivolity. He uses strong profanity.
  • KELLY REILLY plays John's favorite prostitute.
  • RICHARD COYLE plays the servant that John saves from another man.
  • FRANCESCA ANNIS plays John's mother with whom he doesn't share the best relationship.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 11 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are uttered. Sexually related dialogue -- much of it explicit -- is present, as is an orgy seen from a distance at night (with movement in several positions, along with nudity). Another sexual encounter is seen (movement but no nudity), off-camera female to male oral sex occurs, as does some other groping, while other nudity (bare breasts and female and male bare butts) is also present. A sexually oriented play is put on with various phallic imagery as well as realistic looking dildos, while drawings show graphic images of intercourse.

    Violence includes a person dying from being impaled during a fight, while other human to human physical contact is present, some of which has bloody results (while a man afflicted with syphilis has bad-looking facial lesions, and some brief scatological material is present). Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes (particularly the main character), including adultery, which leads to some tense family moments between a husband and wife.

    Characters use tobacco products and/or drink, one quite a bit, including with some drunkenness, while some behavior in the film may be enticing for some kids to imitate. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's a tiny bit of that from the flicker of a torch.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's some bouncy handheld camera work.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Among other things mentioned with the return of Charles II is binge drinking and it's noted that the "hangover" started in 1675.
  • Various people drink and John grabs a cup.
  • John holds a goblet.
  • John states, "You shall drink and shag."
  • Sackville says that since they missed "the f*ck," can they get a drink.
  • John drinks.
  • A person comments that the theater is their drug.
  • John drinks.
  • About a painting, John says that perhaps a bottle and glass wound be a handsome addition.
  • John has wine.
  • A person asks Elizabeth if she wants a drink and she says no.
  • We see John drinking from a bottle at night on the floor. When a person says that anyone can drink, he replies that few can match his determination.
  • We see John out in the rain at night and he's drunk (we see him drinking from the bottle).
  • Men playing poker have wine in front of them.
  • John orders ink, not a drink from his servant, but he drinks what the servant brings him.
  • John appears to be drunk while others drink.
  • John orders a drink.
  • John's wife repeatedly whacks at his hand that's on a bottle, but then drinks some of that herself. She then asks when he last was a sober man (and he says five years ago).
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see Billy urinating on a guy's boot (we see the stream).
  • Billy punches a man, followed by John hitting Billy on the head (both with bloody results).
  • There's blood on a person's head during a fight.
  • We see a person urinating in a bottle.
  • John has a bad looking face (various lesions) and eye as he gets sicker.
  • John can't control his bladder and we see urine run from his pants to the chair and then down to the floor.
  • We see more bad looking lesions on John's face.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • John cheats on his wife with other women and generally revels in debauchery along with his friends.
  • It's suggested that the king has a mistress.
  • A man whacks a servant with his cane.
  • Audience members throw things at Elizabeth and heckle her on the stage.
  • Someone calls Elizabeth "horse face."
  • King Charles II kisses Elizabeth's bare shoulder after putting a broach on her clothes.
  • John concocts a play that mocks the king in a sexual fashion (despite the king being the one who had him returned from banishment from the court).
  • Some viewers might not like when John hypothetically comments on stealing nails from a crucified Jesus for his own use.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may be unsettling or suspenseful to a few viewers, but the material's brief and not really played for true suspense.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • A person stabs another with a spear-like object, killing them. Swords are then drawn.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Don't f*ck up," "Of course I'm f*cking angry," "What the f*ck?" "Where's the f*cking drink?" "Where the f*ck is he?" "This is the pr*ck talking," "Old c*ck, try not to be a c*nt," "With my pr*ck, I'll govern the land," "Damn well," "(No one likes a clever) Bastard," "Oh freeze my piss," "They can kiss my ass," "Horse-face" and "Whore."
  • A man moons others at a play (we see his bare butt).
  • Audience members throw things at Elizabeth and heckle her on the stage.
  • Someone calls Elizabeth "horse face."
  • We see Billy urinating on a guy's boot (we see the stream).
  • John spits at King Charles II but misses.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 11 "f" words (4 used sexually, as are uses of "shag"), a possible "s" word, 9 slang terms using male genitals ("pr*ck, "c*ck," "member" and what sounded like "tass"), 9 using female genitals ("c*nt" and "slit"), 1 for breasts ("t*ts"), 3 asses and 1 damn.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Various women (including Elizabeth, John's wife and Jane) show varying amounts of cleavage throughout the film.
  • Among other things mentioned with the return of Charles II is that sexual intercourse flourishes.
  • John drops innuendo by stating he's "up for it, all the time" and "it's bone hard," adding that's a medical fact (some of that may be bisexual in nature).
  • John says something that sounded like "my tass up your petticoats."
  • John makes more sexually related comments, including something about erections, gonads, "when you shag, and you will shag," something about you wondering was that shudder the same he (John) experienced, and more.
  • John's wife says he abducted her in a coach like the one they're in when she was a virgin heiress. He has his hand up inside her thighs and we see her pleasured reactions and hear her related sounds. She uses her hand to guide his hand there, then to her mouth and then his mouth. He then smells his fingers.
  • There's more sexually related talk (of hands, mouths and thighs, and "to get the member she wants," etc.) regarding a letter written concerning the royal mistress and the king.
  • The word "c*ck" is said several times in conjunction with a servant's name ("Alcock").
  • John states "You shall drink and shag" and there's something about money for a "whore."
  • A man moons others at a play (we see his bare butt).
  • John passionately kisses Jane. He states that he likes a whore with sentiment and runs his hand across her ample cleavage.
  • A woman pulls down her dress to expose her bare breast to Etherege, saying, "Take a nipple?" But the reply is, "I've had my lunch."
  • There's more sexually related talk, including a sexual use of the "f" word.
  • Sackville looks at a woman's bare breast.
  • A comment is made about it being the "pr*ck" talking and not the head.
  • Sackville says that since they missed "the f*ck," can they get a drink.
  • Elizabeth asks, "Will you have me lift my skirt, or will you lift it of your own endeavor?"
  • After John asks about the passion of a play speech, Elizabeth says she's counterfeited passion in others' beds before.
  • Elizabeth tells John, "You could buy my slit for a pound tonight," with the comment being that would be fine, but that John is after power and not sex.
  • John says, "Do me now," a woman replies "How?" and he says "Mouth." We then see his subdued reaction to her doing that.
  • There's some prose about John's penis (nothing explicit, but something about being flaccid and nothing happening).
  • Jane makes a comment about oral sex (that nothing happened).
  • A comment is made (something along the lines of), "I'd rather you come with your fetch (?) over my face then care about you."
  • A comment is made about "who f*cks who."
  • We see an orgy in a park and observe bare breasts, embracing, rear entry and missionary position sex and more including terms such as "pr*ck" and "c*nt."
  • John states that in the end, every man needs the whore house.
  • John passionately kisses Elizabeth.
  • Sackville says he heard a woman charges by the minute.
  • Elizabeth passionately kisses John. Elizabeth and John have sex in the missionary position. We see her hands between her legs as they start and then see subdued movement in the missionary position (various shots, but no nudity) until he's somewhat behind her when he rolls her over.
  • King Charles II kisses Elizabeth's bare shoulder after putting a broach on her clothes (and she shows lots of cleavage).
  • John tells Alcock, "Old c*ck, try not to be a c*nt." A comment is made about a character's name being little clitoris, followed by "I'm old c*ck, Little Clitoris is beyond my range."
  • At a play rehearsal, we see various dildos.
  • John comments that fornication in the streets with strangers is compulsory in France.
  • "Fall to f*cking" is a stage direction as is playing and kissing of "c*nts" and "pr*cks."
  • An actor asks if there are going to be strap-ons in John's play. The latter replies no, that it will be in the flesh, three times a day, prompting that actor to quit.
  • Performers wear partially see-through, nightgown type outfits on the stage while realistic-looking dildos are handed out to audience members. The performers then thrust big logs between their legs in an exaggerated bit of mimicry, all while lying on the stage and making orgasmic sounds. We see a bare breast and a small person rides on a cannon shaped like a penis and scrotum. One man is in something akin to a diaper, while John (playing the king) makes the mocking comment, "With my pr*ck, I'll govern the land." Other sexually related dialogue about choosing and allowing buggery and the recipient of sperm are made.
  • We see bare breasts and a butt in an exam.
  • A statue shows female full frontal nudity.
  • We see drawings of intercourse (including a penis in a vagina) as well as what may have been bestiality imagery.
  • SMOKING
  • Sackville might have some snuff or something similar, as might Etherege.
  • A few minor characters smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • John's wife's is upset that he shows passion from a distance but in person, she's reviled.
  • John and his mother do not have a god relationship.
  • John's mother tells him that God has brought these diseases on him.
  • A woman must deal with her husband's illness and then death.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The historical accuracy and/or artistic license taken with the true story.
  • King Charles II's comment that anyone can oppose something, adding that it's fun being against things.
  • John is in some pain (from syphilis, which gets worse as the story progresses).
  • John's comment that he can't feel life and must have others do it on stage for him.
  • John states that in the end, every man needs the whore house.
  • John's mother tells him that God has brought these diseases on him.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A man whacks a servant with his cane.
  • Audience members throw things at Elizabeth and heckle her on the stage.
  • John backhands Billy (an 18-year-old).
  • Billy punches a man, followed by John hitting Billy on the head (both with bloody results).
  • A person stabs another with a spear-like object, killing them. Swords are drawn and a person backs into another, knocking him to the ground.
  • King Charles II smashes a chair.
  • A man struggles with Jane.



  • Reviewed November 21, 2005 / Posted March 10, 2006

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