The Libertine (2006) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Libertine (2006)



Critic Consensus: Despite Johnny Depp's zealous performance, muddled direction and murky cinematography hinder The Libertine.

Movie Info

The film follows the second Earl of Rochester's adventures in London, from his passionate romance with a young actress, Elizabeth Barry, to the writing of a scurrilous play which blisteringly and bawdily lampoons the very monarch who commissioned it, Charles II, leading to the Earl's banishment and eventual downfall.more
Rating: R (for strong sexuality including dialogue, violence and language)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Stephen Jeffreys
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 4, 2006
Box Office: $4.8M
Weinstein Company - Official Site


Johnny Depp
as John Wilmot, Earl o...
Samantha Morton
as Elizabeth Barry
John Malkovich
as King Charles II
Paul Ritter
as Chiffinch
Rosamund Pike
as Elizabeth Malet
Tom Hollander
as George Etherege
Johnny Vegas
as Sackville
Hugh Sachs
as Ratcliffe
Clare Higgins
as Molly Luscombe
Tom Burke
as Vaughan
Rupert Friend
as Billy Downs
Claire Higgins
as Molly Luscombe
Freddie Jones
as Betterton
Jake Curran
as Sackville's Servant
Paul Chahidi
as Barrillon
Kevin Doyle
as Constable
Niall Buggy
as Chaplain
T.P. McKenna
as Black Rod
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Libertine

Critic Reviews for The Libertine

All Critics (122) | Top Critics (36)

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

Full Review… | November 27, 2006
AV Club
Top Critic

If Johnny Depp's barmy stumble through the yo-ho-hum Pirates sequel was playtime rehash, then his loathsome portrayal of the pestilent aristocrat Earl of Rochester shows an actor still daring to push the margins of his persona.

Full Review… | November 7, 2012
Empire Magazine Australasia

Big dull drag of a movie.

Full Review… | April 4, 2011

Slightly pretentious, but original enough to be a bit interesting, and buoyed by strong performances from Depp and Morton, The Libertine is a decent telling of a historical footnote, most interesting because of its strong feminist message.

Full Review… | March 29, 2011

Completely unshocking

Full Review… | August 30, 2009

Based on Stephen Jeffreys' play, about 17th century iconoclastic poet the 2nd Earl of Rochester (Johnny Depp), "The Libertine" fails to pay off on its promises of taboo sex.

Full Review… | April 17, 2009

Audience Reviews for The Libertine

I waited a year for this movie from Netflix, what a dissapointment. The worst Johnny Depp movie I have ever seen, Filty from start to finish. Not worth the wait or the effort. 1/2 star

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

A squallid period piece mired in the mud of historical accuracy and a meandering direction.

Wasting a very good performance from J Depp, Samantha Morton and John Malkovich, the film treds unevenly over the cobblestones of its debauchery - too graphic - yet not shocking, as the "love" scenes often become too long, too artsy, and too pointless.

The hedonistic aspect of the film is intriguing, and somewhere within there is a message pondering acts for self versus the selfless act. - I believe that the script would have been better if it had adhered more towards these ponderings instead of concerning itself with minor charactors, historical detours and dramatic non-sequitors.

Samantha Morton's charactor comes across as beguiling, and yet we remain unsure of her motivations, as so much appears to get glossed over by a simple "he is my lover" - but what does that mean? What is the context and why the later appearance of nonchalance? Was there something implied in the king's request that she be a spy against Depp that would lead her to detach herself from him? So much could have been mined here.

The introduction and conclusion are a nice touch, and the speach before the house of lords a wonderful tour de force by Depp (and almost worth viewing the rest of the film for), but even when the film does it right, ie. said scene in the house of lords, it squanders the dramatic credit by almost throwing away the subsequent meeting between Depp and Malkovich, tossing aside the true theme of the film just as easily as Depp's depraved charactor throws away the respect of his king and the adoration of his followers.

paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

Throughout this movie I kept saying to myself. "underneath the vulgarity there is a good movie with good story." I am still not sure if I was right or not! I really just dont know. Johnny Depps opening Monalogue was spectacular. Very Very well done. And of course, its Johnny Depp so you know the entire performance with be amazing and He did not fail. Now I know that his movie was pretty much HATED by the critics but I was very surprised that Johnny was not nominated for an oscar! He was completely immersted in his character wich, I guess he is in all of his movies, and I really beleive that the Academy should honor him more often then they do.

Morgan Salem

Super Reviewer

The Libertine Quotes

– Submitted by Frances H (16 months ago)
– Submitted by Mila M (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Mila M (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Pearl S (3 years ago)

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