"Debauchery Leads to Destruction"
What You Need To Know:
The dialogue for THE LIBERTINE is superb, but the storytelling devices are clumsy and not nearly at the same level of craftsmanship. The actors give wonderful performances. Except for those few qualities, however, this movie is abhorrent. It contains extreme sexual content and nudity, as well as some strong language, alcoholism and debauchery of every kind. Most moviegoers will not like this character, but, then again, he doesn’t want you to like him.
(HHH, AbAbAb, RoRoRo, C, LL, V, SSS, NN, AAA, D, MMM) Very strong immoral humanist worldview with very strong elements of Romanticism that deal only with the material world and physical pleasure as the highest human goal, light Christian elements as characters reap physical diseases for the sin they have sown and character finds some moral redemption at the end of his life along with several mentions of “our Lord, Jesus Christ”; 20 obscenities (12 of which are "f" words) and zero profanities; light violence depicted in a drunken brawl and a man is hit over the head with a cane and stabbed with a sword; very strong sexuality includes a lot of sexual dialogue, a man sexually touches his wife during a carriage ride, crude references to male and female body genitals, characters continually visit whorehouses, a stage play is about dildos, stage actresses simulate masturbation, implied adultery, an orgy depicted in the park with countless people, several depicted sex scenes with various prostitutes; a lot of upper female nudity, and rear male and rear female nudity; strong alcohol and drunkenness as main character struggles with alcoholism; smoking of pipes depicted; and very strong miscellaneous immorality includes prostitution, gambling, lying, stealing, and public ridicule of the King of England.
THE LIBERTINE is the story of the life, death and debauched glorification of 17th century writer John Wilmot (Johnny Depp), the Earl of Rochester.
In the opening monologue, Wilmot proclaims to the camera, “Allow me to be frank. You will not like me.” After monologuing for the next several minutes of how much he likes wine, women and how he’s ready for sex at any moment, he again says to the camera, “You will not like me. I don’t want you to like me.”
Congratulations, Mr. Wilmot, you got what you wanted: we don’t like you.
The story is unimportant. The movie simply follows this character as he drinks and debauches his way to an early grave. Somewhere in the middle of it, he falls in love with an actress, helps her to become the most-famous actress in all of London, destroys his relationship with his wife, destroys his relationship with his friends, commits treason against the King of England, retreats into exile, comes back from exile, changes a vote in the House of Lords, and loses the actress he so desperately wanted.
By the time the sexual diseases and alcoholism take hold of his body, cause his nose to fall off and make him unable to walk on his own, audience members will want to have left the theater long ago.
There is one aspect of production quality that is good and should be noted. Screenwriter Steven Jeffreys’ dialogue is superb. He masterfully captures the heightened language of that period in history. However, it is regrettable that such wonderful dialogue had to be wasted on such base subject matter. Although the dialogue is deftly handled, the script’s action and story-telling devices are clumsy and not nearly at the same level of craftsmanship.
The actors also give some wonderful performances. Johnny Depp’s performance is good but at times is a little reminiscent of Captain Jack Sparrow from PIRATES OF THE CARRIBBEAN. John Malkovich delivers a solid performance as King Charles II. As the actress/lover of Depp’s character, Samantha Morton steals the scene every time she is on screen.
Except for those few qualities, this movie is abhorrent. Most moviegoers, not just moral viewers and Christians, will want to avoid THE LIBERTINE at all costs. With way too much sexuality and way too much debauchery of every kind, this movie is an offensive look at the life of a pitiful man.
Trust us. You won’t like this man, but, then again, he doesn’t want you to like him.