Withnail and I (1987)
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Movie InfoIn the late 1960s, two unemployed, broke British actors -- Withnail, a pill-popping burn-out, and Marwood, who's slightly more together -- take a vacation to the country. This pointed black comedy follows the actors' misadventures as the trip quickly turns into a nightmare, thanks in large part to Withnail's uncle.
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Critic Reviews for Withnail and I
Set in 1969 England, it portrays the last throes of a friendship mirroring the seedy demise of the hippie period, delivering some comic gems along the way.
A biting script from writer-director Bruce Robinson and performances from Richard E Grant and Paul McGann as two 'resting' actors, Withnail and 'I', that neither has surpassed.
The humour won't be to everyone's taste, but the dialogue is incredibly quotable [insert your favourite line here] and the performances are faultless. An enduring cult classic.
Perhaps Britain's most beloved cult film, Bruce Robinson's 1986 semi-autobiographical dark comedy is an obsessively observed character study.
One of the funniest elements of Withnail & I is that it concerns three varieties of drama queen: the flamboyantly dark-minded Withnail; neurotic, ill-equipped Marwood, and the larger-than-life Monty. [Blu-ray]
Has a particularly rabid following. Maybe one has to be English to really understand why.
A hilarious black comedy and already something of a cult favorite.
It is at once a coming-of-age comedy and a fond farewell to an era.
A modern classic? A brilliant vignette of a certain time and attitudes? A self-indulgent jeu d'esprit? One thing is certain: Richard E. Grant touched greatness.
The best British comedy ever made? Possibly. A masterpiece? Unquestionably.
Has any screenplay combined so many quotable lines with such tear-jerking pathos or blatant homophobia?
Arch, smug, exquisitely British, and truly hilarious.
Grant - a teetotaller - delivers the performance of his life as the doomed thesp, whether it be demanding the "finest wines available to humanity", downing lighter fluid, or feeling like a pig shat in his head.
a wonderfully written bit, more literary than cinematic, and the movie chugs forward on the sheer strength of its dialogue and performers
Audience Reviews for Withnail and I
Withnail and I is set in an old, run down student flat in London's Camden Town at the end of the 1960's. Withnail and I are a couple of unemployed actors from different ends of the social spectrum.
Withnail is a Harrow educated dilettante, and rather upper crust; his flatmate Marwood is a grammar school boy with a slightly more realistic outlook on life. To escape from the squalor of their grim, unemployed, existence in Camden Town, soaked in a near lethal cocktail of alcohol and drugs, the desperate pair call upon the generosity of Withnail's uncle Montague and secure the use of his cottage in the country for a weekend.
Uncle Monty is an eccentric middle-aged homosexual, who prefers vegetables to flowers. He considers that 'flowers are essentially tarts - prostitutes for the bees', and wears a radish in his buttonhole in preference to a flower. He grows vegetables in pots in his Chelsea house, and makes suggestive references to 'firm young carrots'.
Withnail (excellently played by Richard E. Grant), persuades Uncle Monty (a superb Richard Griffiths) to lend Marwood (a convincing Paul McGann) and him his cottage in the country for the weekend.
Their exploits at the cottage, and in Penrith where they spend their Wellington boot money on booze and try to sober up in a gentile tearoom are memorable, witty and entertaining. The incongruous uncle Monty reciting Baudelaire in the Cumbrian hills, seeking carnal knowledge of Marwood (apparently coerced by the cowardly and treacherous Withnail), are testament to the writing skills and humour of author and director, Bruce Robinson.
The film's soundtrack brings us 'A Whiter Shade of Pale', played by King Curtis on the Saxophone, 'My Friend' and 'Walk hand in Hand', performed by Charlie Kunz, 'Schubert's Piano Sonata in B Flat Major' performed by Leslie Pearson, 'All Along the Watchtower' and 'Voodoo Chile', by Jimi Hendrix, 'Hang Out the Stars in Indiana', performed by Al Bowlly, and 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps', by the late lamented George Harrison, who provided much of the financial backing for this memorable film.
This is a thoroughly entertaining 108 minutes of humorous entertainment, a few too many drinks, a convincing 60's atmosphere, superb performances from the excellent cast, and music to make your heart, and your guitar, gently weep. Thank you, George Harrison.
Cult classic. One of the best British comedies ever made. The teaming up of Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann is pure comedy genius and makes for great entertainment. Withnail and I is filled with classic dialogue and unforgettable characters.
'We've gone on holiday by mistake.' Love it.
Withnail and I Quotes
- Peter Marwood ("I"):
- We want the finest wines available to humanity! We want them here and we want them now!
- [to the cat] you beastly little parasite how dare you, you little thug how dare you, arrgh beastly ungrateful little swine.
- I feel like a pig shat in my head.
- I don't advise a haircut, man. All hairdressers are in the employment of the government. Hairs are your aerials. They pick up signals from the cosmos, and transmit them directly into you brain! This is the reason bald-headed men are uptight.
- Peter Marwood ("I"):
- Stop saying that Withnail, of course he's the fucking farmer!
- I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth. And indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory. This most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appeareth nothing to me but a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! How like an angel in apprehension. How like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me, no, nor women neither. Nor women neither.
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