The Barretts of Wimpole Street

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78%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 9

69%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 335

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Movie Info

Remarkable poet Elizabeth Barrett (Norma Shearer) is slowly recovering from a crippling illness with the help of her siblings, especially her youngest sister, Henrietta (Maureen O'Sullivan), but feels stifled by the domestic tyranny of her wealthy widowed father, Edward (Charles Laughton). When she meets fellow poet Robert Browning (Fredric March) in a romantic first encounter, her heart belongs to him. However, her controlling father has no intention of allowing her out of his sight.

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Critic Reviews for The Barretts of Wimpole Street

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (7) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for The Barretts of Wimpole Street

  • Dec 01, 2016
    The love story between Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett is legendary, and her 'Sonnets from the Portuguese' contains some of the beautiful love poetry ever written. They were both already established poets when they began corresponding, but she was an invalid, and had doubts and insecurities that he helped overcome with steady, persistent, genuine love. What I had forgotten about their story was how poorly her father behaved towards her and the rest of his children, and this movie really shows us that, in what appears to be a pretty accurate way. Charles Laughton is brilliant as the overbearing, controlling, overprotective, borderline incestuous Mr. Barrett, father of 12, whose wife had passed away, and whose own frustrations in love had led him to forbid his children to marry. He's hard to watch at times, but certainly gives the best performance, and the movie is probably more about his inability to let his children go - indeed, he disinherited each one who married - than it is about the extraordinary love between Robert and Elizabeth, though Frederic March and Norma Shearer do have some tender scenes. I enjoyed watching it, but I suppose that's the reason I didn't give a higher rating. How much better would it have been had they incorporated even more of their relationship, and some of their letters and poetry. The movie would be remade 23 years later by the same director, Sidney Franklin, and would be a great choice to be remade (with script changes) again today.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 15, 2013
    A bit on the melodramatic side but I think this was the time period that created the melodrama. Fredric March is seemingly in every film as the leading man and here he performs his duty and gets his maid.
    John B Super Reviewer

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