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Total Count: 5


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,911
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Movie Info

Jenny Runacre plays 16th-century British monarch Elizabeth I in Jubilee. Through a time warp, Elizabeth is whisked to the London "punk" scene of the 1970s. An automatic misfit by virtue of her archaic costuming and speech patterns, Elizabeth is adopted by a group of "cast-off" modern women who've formed a little clique of their own. She is introduced to the aural, visual and sensual pleasures of modern London, and after a while she isn't so keen on returning to her own time. The quirkiness of Jubilee is underlined by the presence in the cast of Rocky Horror Picture Show vets Little Nell (as a character named "Crabs") and Richard O'Brien. Also heard and seen is rocker Adam Ant, who turns in one of the film's more polished performances. Jubilee began life as one of director Derek Jarman's experimental 16-millimeter cinematic collages.


Critic Reviews for Jubilee

All Critics (5) | Fresh (5)

Audience Reviews for Jubilee

  • Sep 30, 2013
    This must be my week of crap movies, I'm going to be honest right from the start: I've only seen two films from the late Derek Jarman, this and The Last of England (1987). And I must say that neither of them made much of an impression on me. Jubilee tells the disjointed story of Queen Elizabeth I, who bored by her own existence has her court astrologer and an angel invent a time travel devise that will allow her to travel forward to twentieth century Britain. Once again Jarman revels in pointing out the failings in modern British culture, from the violent punk scene that the main characters are part of, to the harsh severity of the music industry and corporate big business. This has no precedence over the plot, because Jubilee has no plot, just a rambling incoherent mish-mash of filth and vulgarity, which Jarman seems to think will help drive his message of a Britain on the brink of self-destruction home. Jubilee is a film that so obviously wanted to be hip it hurts, looking back it seems Jarman took everything that was just about to explode into the public conscious and structured a highly self-indulgent story around it. So we are shown one of the most miss-representative looks at punk one could ever imagine, and a cast that reads like the who's-who of seventies underground celebrities (Richard O Brien rubs shoulders with the likes of a chubby Toyah Wilcox and a pre-fame Adam Ant). Jarman was clearly pandering to his overly inflated ego, after his gay swords and sandals "epic" Sebastiane (1976) was hailed a modern classic. Jubilee is yet another product of art-house cinema gone wrong and film-making in it's most brash and unsubtle form. 1 Star 9-29-13
    Bruce B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 27, 2013
    Its more graduate school thesis than an actual film. Is it original? Yes, but its still mostly just a collection of images and ideas without much of a through-line.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 15, 2011
    Interesting if flawed, "Jubilee" is director Derek Jarman's arty look at UK punks and urban decay. His detached stance seems somewhat ambivalent -- does he regard these flamboyant brats as an antidote to modern society or a mere symptom of it? With its day-glo characters and derelict locations, the film isn't out to create a realistic, metropolitan environment -- often, the actors just recite history or philosophy for the camera and serve as conduits for Jarman's thoughts. What passes for "plot" is strictly secondary, as various play-like vignettes are spliced together in collage. The motley cast includes the adolescent Toyah Willcox (relentlessly obnoxious and barely recognizable), the pre-fame Adam Ant, Little Nell (yes, from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"), Ian Charleson (half the film passed before I realized he starred in "Chariots of Fire" just a few years later) and Jenny Runacre (the group's aloof, glamorous matriarch). Willcox, Wayne County, Adam & the Ants (minus their later New Romantic frills) and Siouxsie & the Banshees are among the onscreen musical contributors, while Brian Eno adds ambient score. The Slits also make a quick cameo. Yet the centerpiece tune comes from a novice: the one-named Jordan (known here as "Amyl Nitrate"), who struts through sort of an operatic, reggae version of "Rule Brittania." The abusive Willcox has the juiciest part, but the most coherent plot thread is the stardom quest of a handsome ingenue (Ant) and his subsequent exploitation by a leering media impresario (the ridiculously overacting "Orlando"). Elsewhere, the sociopathic Nell, Willcox and Runacre collaborate on a few thrill killings, while the depraved proceedings are coolly observed by a time-traveling Queen Elizabeth I (Runacre again), her court astrologer (Richard O'Brien, also from "Rocky Horror") and the spooky, dark-eyed angel they have summoned as a guide. This trio functions as a narrative frame and one suspects that, given a choice, Jarman would rather live in their past era of magic and elegant costumes. Many British youths disliked "Jubilee" (punk-fashion icon Vivienne Westwood even ran off a notorious T-shirt decorated with a letter of protest) and it's easy to see why true rockers would prefer a grittier, grubbier work like, say, "Rude Boy." But "Jubilee" remains an intriguing curio that underground-music fans shouldn't miss.
    Eric B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 05, 2009
    weird weird weird British stage show and street trash exhibition. I'm a Toyah fan so had to see this movie.
    Lafe F Super Reviewer

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