The Draughtsman's Contract (1982) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Draughtsman's Contract (1982)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Draughtsman's Contract Photos

Movie Info

According to this story of a woman not so much scorned as ignored, life in late 17th-century England among the landed gentry was not what it appeared to be on the surface. Mrs. Herbert (Janet Suzman) is desperate to find a way to please her husband and win back his errant affections, and to that end, she coerces the draughtsman Neville (Anthony Higgins) into doing some drawings of the Herbert estate while her husband is away for a few weeks. She means to surprise her husband with the drawings, in the hope that he will be appropriately grateful. Neville does some coercing of his own, refusing to cooperate unless Mrs. Herbert bestows him with requested sexual favors -- she agrees, but is not happy about it. Mrs. Herbert's daughter (Ann Louise Lambert), in turn, seduces Neville -- her relationship with her husband Talman (Hugh Fraser) has become boring. Meanwhile, Talman has never liked Neville and the two of them have more than one witty altercation. Fortunately, Neville is leaving soon but when that day comes, Mr. Herbert's quite dead body is found floating in the water of the moat. Neville leaves anyway, though suspicion starts to center on him because people feel his drawings have something to do with Herbert's death. Unfortunately, Neville comes back to visit after some time has gone by, and the suspicions are anything but subsided as inhabitants of the manor begin to consider a course of action.
Rating:
R
Genre:
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Channel 4

Cast

Anthony Higgins
as Mr. Neville
Janet Suzman
as Mrs. Herbert
Anne Louise Lambert
as Mrs. Talmann
Neil Cunningham
as Mr. Noyes
Hugh Fraser
as Mr. Talmann
Dave Hill
as Mr. Herbert
David Gant
as Mr. Seymour
David Meyer
as The Poulena
Tony Meyer
as The Poulena
Nicholas Amer
as Mr. Parkes
Suzan Crowley
as Mrs. Pierpont
Lynda Marchal
as Mrs. Clement
Michael Feast
as The statue
Steve Ubels
as Mr. Van Hoyton
Ben Kirby
as Augustus
Sylvia Rotter
as Governess
Joss Buckley
as Mr. Porringer
Mike Carter
as Mr. Clark
Vivienne Chandler
as Laundress
Geoffrey Larder
as Mr. Hammond
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Draughtsman's Contract

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (3)

Artificial in the extreme, it may nevertheless be Greenaway's most naturalistic and easygoing film.

Full Review… | July 5, 2007
Village Voice
Top Critic

It shows the director at his best and most playful, and it's a strange delight.

Full Review… | February 21, 2008
Combustible Celluloid

A puzzle book for intellectual aesthetes.

Full Review… | January 22, 2008
Slant Magazine

One of the best, most original and diabolical films to come out of England.

Full Review… | August 22, 2007
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

ravishingly beautiful

April 6, 2005
Shadows on the Wall

Greenaway ploughs the familiar landscape of the murder mystery, but plants in it new, exotic fruits all of his own.

Full Review… | February 13, 2004
Movie Gazette

Audience Reviews for The Draughtsman's Contract

The Draughtsman's Contract has everybody clever in an odd way. I cannot make out what it is about. This is neither irritating enough to make me dislike the film nor intriguing enough to stimulate a rewatch. Would recommend only to those who enjoy the exercise of interpretation; it is not really comical or sexy enough for a casual view.

Robert Brogan
Robert Brogan

Super Reviewer

½

There are a lot of good things I can say about this film. The costumes and setting are gorgeous, and all of the performances are great - most of all Anthony Higgins, who is not only masterful in his role but wears Restoration costume as if he'd been born to do so. However, despite enjoying the first two thirds of the film I can't say I was especially enamoured of the ending section, possibly because much of it went over my head. Maybe I'll watch it again sometime and see if I understand it better.

Kylie B
Kylie B

Super Reviewer

Seductive cinematic puzzle, visually rich with deception, both of fact and motive, permeating the texture. Performances are uniformly excellent, while the historical setting is amongst the most vivid committed to film. Michael Nyman's beautifully crafted score contributes greatly.

hawk ledge
hawk ledge

Super Reviewer

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