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Restoration spins an engaging period yarn out of its bestselling source material, brought to life through the efforts of an eclectic ensemble cast led by Robert Downey Jr. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

In order to keep one of his mistresses, Celia (Polly Walker), at arm's length, King Charles II (Sam Neill) asks the royal physician, Robert Merivel (Robert Downey Jr.), to marry her under the proviso that they never become intimate. Merivel agrees, only to discover he can't resist Celia, and soon finds himself out of the king's favor. Destitute, he devotes himself to helping Londoners suffering from the plague, and in the process falls in love with an equally poor woman, Katherine (Meg Ryan).

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Critic Reviews for Restoration

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (10)

Audience Reviews for Restoration

  • Apr 27, 2013
    Restoration is the sort of period piece that succeeds almost entirely in its world building. Set during the mid 1600s, after the English Civil War, the film revokes around a young physician and his escapades with the Royal aristocratic establishment. We see the evolution of his fall, discovery, and rise, set against a genuine historical period. The thing that sets Restoration a part is its unique story-line. Certainly the themes are familiar, but Restoration is very ambitious in how it sets about resolving its plot. The film is expansive, introducing several main characters, and at various stages. We see Downey's character over a period of years, yet the film never feels rushed, paying off its story-lines well. That the film introduces major characters and hints at sub plots, but instead focuses its attention elsewhere, was refreshing, never feeling predictable (until the final act). The entire progression of Restoration was not concerned with hitting on plot points, being more concerned with immersing Downey's character in a variety of situations, and watching his development from there. The one drawback with Restoration's expansive nature, however, is that we lack one central dramatic through line to anchor us. Downey's performance is strong, as are the others, but with the shifts in focus, the viewer can feel a bit disengaged, making it harder to keep us empathetic with the actions of those involved. Still, the script does a good job of providing us interestingy characters, and was intelligently written, with a keen sense of dialogue. Overall, Restoration is a mature period piece for those that enjoy sophisticated world building and interesting characters, albeit with plot that is not quite as impacting. 3.5/5 Stars
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 29, 2011
    Lavish production and a veritable glitterati of talent cannot hide a meandering script about a young doctor in old London who's seduced by the power, money and privilege of life in the court of the king.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Mar 19, 2010
    This is one of the most underrated films of all time. I just discovered it about two weeks ago. From the director of this year's "The Last Station" comes a film that one two Academy Awards. Look at the cast, Robert Downey Jr., Meg Ryan, Sam Neill, David Thewlis, Polly Walker, Ian McKellen, Hugh Grant, and Ian Mcdiarmid (Palpatine/Sideous from Star Wars). It is a beautifully shot period-piece and a film not to be missed. Only one of my friends on flixster has seen this, what's wrong with you guys!
    Kyle S Super Reviewer
  • Apr 28, 2009
    An interesting movie about the choices one makes in their lives. Robert Downey is a 17th century physician who first makes a number of self-indulgent choices which backfire on him and he loses everything. He then is basically forced into helping in the efforts to fight the plague and since this the movies after all, things turn out fairly well for him. I downgraded my ranking by one star because I watched Restoration a few years after the first time I had seen it, and had no idea that I had already seen it. I figured if I had totally forgotten I had ever seen it in the first place, it could not have been as good as I had rated it to start with.
    Red L Super Reviewer

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