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Critic Reviews for Barrymore
Plummer commands the stage as easily and firmly as Barrymore must have. He makes us believe that Barrymore would indeed, as he tries to reach deep into his past and revive Richard, keep recalling his wives or breaking in to sing a pop song of the day.
You wish you could be seeing this performance live, as it's meant to be seen - but lacking that, "Barrymore" on the big screen provides its own thrills.
Plummer is marvelous, flitting between reminiscence and Shakespearean recitation as a gifted artist aware of his own wretchedness.
Audience Reviews for Barrymore
Once upon a time, there was a great actor named John Barrymore(Christopher Plummer) who while specializing in the classics, also appeared in quite a few early sound films of Hollywood. By 1942, when this one person show was set, he was not the same person, years of alcohol abuse having damaged him beyond repair, ironically leaving him not unlike the character he played in "Dinner at Eight," a washed up actor who thinks he is still relevant. In Barrymore's case, it involves a last chance audition for Richard III. But he cannot even remember the magical words every actor has drilled into him, instead going off on tangents about his famous siblings. None of which is really that interesting or scintillating but the wonderful Christopher Plummer does what he can with such limited material. And that's got to be at least worth a look, right?
I was a little slow off the mark otherwise I would have been in the audience when they filmed Christopher Plummer doing his John Barrymore. Thank goodness HBO decided to pick it up and air it. A great theatrical performance is captured and kudos to Director Erik Canuel who offers appropriate off-stage moments that don't detract from the piece.