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Mysteries of Lisbon achieves an epic heft through an unhurried pace and lush photography, its beguiling episodes culminating in an impressive whole that justifies a lengthy runtime. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

A 19th-century Portuguese man recalls his youth in a church-run orphanage.

Cast & Crew

João Arrais
João Child
Adriano Luz
Father Dinis
Maria João Bastos
Countess Ângela de Lima
Albano Jerónimo
Count of Santa Bárbara
João Baptista
Pedro da Silva
Clotilde Hesme
Elisa de Montfort
Rui Morrison
Marquess of Montezelos
José Manuel Mendes
Frei Baltazar
Carlos Saboga
Writer (Screenplay)
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News & Interviews for Mysteries of Lisbon

Critic Reviews for Mysteries of Lisbon

All Critics (57) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (49) | Rotten (8)

Audience Reviews for Mysteries of Lisbon

  • Jun 24, 2013
    In "Mysteries of Lisbon," Joao(Joao Luis Arrias) is already suffering through school enough without the local bullies picking up on his being an orphan. After falling suddenly ill, he sees an unfamiliar figure through the feverish haze. When he recovers, Father Dinis(Adriano Luz) tells him that it was Angela(Maria Joao Bastos), a countess, who is also Joao's mother. However, all is not happiness for all concerned as she is kept prisoner by her husband who has switched her role with the maid. Still, business and wars call him away for business often which gives them time to get to know each other. But one time they miscalculate, forcing her to flee and Father Dinis also to give her sanctuary, along with a trusted servant. "Mysteries of Lisbon" is a handsomely produced film(reportedly culled from an even longer miniseries) that moves along at its own languid pace, helping to recreate a past world of much tighter social norms that are violated at one's own risk. Apparently, the Catholic Church was the witness protection program of that time period with many of the characters having a complicated back story and more than one name which can be challenging to keep track of for casual viewers.(In any case, I'm glad I did not try to see this in a theatre.) So subtle is the storytelling that I did not realize this movie took place in the 1840's until it got around to bringing up the French Revolution, as I know so very little about Portugese history.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 12, 2011
    "Mysteries of Lisbon" is the slowest, most sleep-inducing film I've ever seen. It was painful at times to try to stay awake through its interminable four hours. It's not even that interesting. If it had been better directed and edited, I think I still would have been disappointed by it. It astonishes me that this bourgeois soap opera is being raved about by some top-notch critics. It is beautiful to look at; that's for sure. But films have to be way more than visually beautiful. They must have something to say. This film has little to say. It is soap opera given a high bourgeois treatment by a director (Chilean director Raul Ruiz) who loves mainstream 19th-century fiction. If Mr. Ruiz had any interest in the 21st century, he might be an interesting artist for us today. But he doesn't. He wants to go back in time to 1820, and he should. Even if he had anything fresh and interesting to say about the 19th century, that would be something. But he doesn't even have that. As an artist, he's embalmed.
    William D Super Reviewer
  • Aug 10, 2011
    Its an impressive film, it sustains itself thematically and holds your interest for its 4 1/2 hour run time while really playing around with the audience's perception of whats real or imagined. It weaves in and out of stories and stories within those stories so seamlessly and it covers just about every standard theme imaginable. 'Mysteries of Lisbon' is the very definition of the word whimsical. ' Like 'Barry Lyndon' or 'Fanny and Alexander' its bound to become a standard for considerably lengthy costume dramas
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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