Mysteries of Lisbon (2011)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Mysteries of Lisbon Videos & Photos

Movie Info

Raul Ruiz's masterful adaptation of the eponymous nineteenth-century Portuguese novel (by Camilo Castelo Branco) evokes the complex intertwined narratives of Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens. The core story centers on Joao, the bastard child of an ill-fated romance between two members of the aristocracy who are forbidden to marry, and his quest to discover the truth of his parentage. But this is just the start of an engrossing tale that follows a multitude of characters whose fates conjoin, … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Camilo Castelo Branco, Carlos Saboga
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 17, 2012
Box Office: $0.1M
Music Box Films - Official Site


as Father Dinis/Sabino ...

as Angela de Lima

as Alberto de Magalhaes

as Pedro da Silva - Adu...

as Pedro da Silva - Chi...

as Elisa de Montfort

as Blanche de Montfort

as Ernesto Lacroze

as Visconde Armagnac

as Anacieta dos Remédio...

as Count of Santa Barba...

as D. Pedro da Silva

as Sebastiao de Melo

as Benoit de Montfort

as Marquis of Montezelo...

as D. Alvaro de Albuque...

as Countess of Viso

as Marquis of Montezelo...

as Friar Baltasar da En...

as Marquise of Alfarela

as Countess of Penacova

as Countess of Arosa

as Deolinda

as Barao de Sa

as Dilettante

as Marquise of Santa Eu...

as Bernardo

as Count of Viso

as Dilettante

as D. Martinho de Almei...

as Gentleman

as D. Antonia

as Father Dinis, Father...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Mysteries of Lisbon

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.


Critic Reviews for Mysteries of Lisbon

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (23)

The production design and costumes are immaculate, while Ruiz's camera glides around soirées, ducks under tables and peers from behind curtains.

Full Review… | December 6, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

A sumptuous unravelling of secrets wrapped in tantalizing stories that gradually interconnect the lives of an ensemble of characters who seduce, betray and defend each other in the years surrounding the Peninsular War.

Full Review… | November 11, 2011
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Based on the sprawling 19th-century novel by Camilo Castelo Branco, Chilean director Raul Ruiz renders an equally sprawling tale filled with love and war, violence and vengeance and the search for identity.

Full Review… | November 10, 2011
Toronto Star
Top Critic

This isn't one of those epics that uses length as a bludgeon. Rather than sweep, the movie spirals, twisting its viewpoint to reveal tales within tales.

Full Review… | September 30, 2011
Washington Post
Top Critic

A sprawling 19th century novel filtered through the mind of a trickster filmmaker, the late Raúl Ruiz, who both delights in and subverts his wildly complex and melodramatic source material.

Full Review… | September 29, 2011
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

It's a lot. But if you're at all inclined, it's just right.

Full Review… | September 15, 2011
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Mysteries of Lisbon

"Mysteries of Lisbon" is the slowest, most sleep-inducing film I've ever seen. It was painful at times to try to stay awake through its interminable four hours.

It's not even that interesting. If it had been better directed and edited, I think I still would have been disappointed by it. It astonishes me that this bourgeois soap opera is being raved about by some top-notch critics.

It is beautiful to look at; that's for sure. But films have to be way more than visually beautiful. They must have something to say. This film has little to say. It is soap opera given a high bourgeois treatment by a director (Chilean director Raul Ruiz) who loves mainstream 19th-century fiction.

If Mr. Ruiz had any interest in the 21st century, he might be an interesting artist for us today. But he doesn't. He wants to go back in time to 1820, and he should. Even if he had anything fresh and interesting to say about the 19th century, that would be something. But he doesn't even have that. As an artist, he's embalmed.

Bill D 2007
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer


In "Mysteries of Lisbon," Joao(Joao Luis Arrias) is already suffering through school enough without the local bullies picking up on his being an orphan. After falling suddenly ill, he sees an unfamiliar figure through the feverish haze. When he recovers, Father Dinis(Adriano Luz) tells him that it was Angela(Maria Joao Bastos), a countess, who is also Joao's mother. However, all is not happiness for all concerned as she is kept prisoner by her husband who has switched her role with the maid. Still, business and wars call him away for business often which gives them time to get to know each other. But one time they miscalculate, forcing her to flee and Father Dinis also to give her sanctuary, along with a trusted servant.

"Mysteries of Lisbon" is a handsomely produced film(reportedly culled from an even longer miniseries) that moves along at its own languid pace, helping to recreate a past world of much tighter social norms that are violated at one's own risk. Apparently, the Catholic Church was the witness protection program of that time period with many of the characters having a complicated back story and more than one name which can be challenging to keep track of for casual viewers.(In any case, I'm glad I did not try to see this in a theatre.) So subtle is the storytelling that I did not realize this movie took place in the 1840's until it got around to bringing up the French Revolution, as I know so very little about Portugese history.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Its an impressive film, it sustains itself thematically and holds your interest for its 4 1/2 hour run time while really playing around with the audience's perception of whats real or imagined. It weaves in and out of stories and stories within those stories so seamlessly and it covers just about every standard theme imaginable. 'Mysteries of Lisbon' is the very definition of the word whimsical. ' Like 'Barry Lyndon' or 'Fanny and Alexander' its bound to become a standard for considerably lengthy costume dramas

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

Mysteries of Lisbon Quotes

– Submitted by Mike M (3 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Mysteries of Lisbon on our Movie forum!