The Libertine


The Libertine

Critics Consensus

Despite Johnny Depp's zealous performance, muddled direction and murky cinematography hinder The Libertine.



Reviews Counted: 122

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 70,897


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.2/5

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Movie Info

The film follows the second Earl of Rochester's adventures in London, from his passionate romance with a young actress, Elizabeth Barry, to the writing of a scurrilous play which blisteringly and bawdily lampoons the very monarch who commissioned it, Charles II, leading to the Earl's banishment and eventual downfall.

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Johnny Depp
as John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
Samantha Morton
as Elizabeth Barry
John Malkovich
as King Charles II
Paul Ritter
as Chiffinch
Rosamund Pike
as Elizabeth Malet
Tom Hollander
as George Etherege
Johnny Vegas
as Sackville
Hugh Sachs
as Ratcliffe
Tom Burke
as Vaughan
Clare Higgins
as Molly Luscombe
Rupert Friend
as Billy Downs
Claire Higgins
as Molly Luscombe
Freddie Jones
as Betterton
Jake Curran
as Sackville's Servant
Paul Chahidi
as Barrillon
Kevin Doyle
as Constable
Niall Buggy
as Chaplain
T.P. McKenna
as Black Rod
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News & Interviews for The Libertine

Critic Reviews for The Libertine

All Critics (122) | Top Critics (37)

  • [Director] Dunmore creates a memorably grimy London, but the moral grime covering the film proves less memorable.

    Nov 27, 2006 | Rating: D+

    Keith Phipps

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • I enjoyed it - or much of it - for reasons that have everything to do with Johnny Depp.

    Aug 1, 2006 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • What emerges from the bilious murk of first-time director Laurence Dunmore's film is a sad picture of an intelligent and talented writer who opted for self-indulgence and gratuitous insult over anything more meaningful.

    Mar 10, 2006 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • As the character grows sicker and quieter, the drama's energy fades.

    Mar 10, 2006 | Rating: 2/4
  • The point seems to be that too much of a good thing leads to a vast sense of nothingness and bleak cinematography. Alas, it also results in transforming a film about a sensualist into a remarkably sexless enterprise.

    Mar 10, 2006 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • A bawdy Restoration romp that doesn't. Romp.

    Mar 10, 2006 | Rating: 2/5

Audience Reviews for The Libertine

I waited a year for this movie from Netflix, what a dissapointment. The worst Johnny Depp movie I have ever seen, Filty from start to finish. Not worth the wait or the effort. 1/2 star

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

A squallid period piece mired in the mud of historical accuracy and a meandering direction. Wasting a very good performance from J Depp, Samantha Morton and John Malkovich, the film treds unevenly over the cobblestones of its debauchery - too graphic - yet not shocking, as the "love" scenes often become too long, too artsy, and too pointless. The hedonistic aspect of the film is intriguing, and somewhere within there is a message pondering acts for self versus the selfless act. - I believe that the script would have been better if it had adhered more towards these ponderings instead of concerning itself with minor charactors, historical detours and dramatic non-sequitors. Samantha Morton's charactor comes across as beguiling, and yet we remain unsure of her motivations, as so much appears to get glossed over by a simple "he is my lover" - but what does that mean? What is the context and why the later appearance of nonchalance? Was there something implied in the king's request that she be a spy against Depp that would lead her to detach herself from him? So much could have been mined here. The introduction and conclusion are a nice touch, and the speach before the house of lords a wonderful tour de force by Depp (and almost worth viewing the rest of the film for), but even when the film does it right, ie. said scene in the house of lords, it squanders the dramatic credit by almost throwing away the subsequent meeting between Depp and Malkovich, tossing aside the true theme of the film just as easily as Depp's depraved charactor throws away the respect of his king and the adoration of his followers.

paul sandberg
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

Throughout this movie I kept saying to myself. "underneath the vulgarity there is a good movie with good story." I am still not sure if I was right or not! I really just dont know. Johnny Depps opening Monalogue was spectacular. Very Very well done. And of course, its Johnny Depp so you know the entire performance with be amazing and He did not fail. Now I know that his movie was pretty much HATED by the critics but I was very surprised that Johnny was not nominated for an oscar! He was completely immersted in his character wich, I guess he is in all of his movies, and I really beleive that the Academy should honor him more often then they do.

Morgan Salem
Morgan Salem

Super Reviewer


This movie was a bit overhyped for me, but it is equal parts tragedy and badassery. "Do you like me now? Do you like me now? Do you like" The female performances are all fierce and fiery. Samantha Morton plays a passionate if talentless ingenue, who under Wilmot's tutelage, gives perhaps the best Ophelia I've seen to date (not that I've seen many), even though it's only snippets, and it might be anachronistic as well. Rosamund Pike is icy and sensuous in the carriage scene and icy and tormented in the big confrontation scene. Some excellent zingers and profoundly romantic moments. "May I always be in your heart, sometimes in your thoughts, but never in your debt." Ooo chills!

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

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