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Orlando can't match its visual delights with equally hefty narrative -- but it's so much fun to watch that it doesn't need to. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

In 1600, nobleman Orlando (Tilda Swinton) inherits his parents' house, thanks to Queen Elizabeth I (Quentin Crisp), who commands the young man to never change. After a disastrous affair with Russian princess Sasha (Charlotte Valandrey), Orlando looks for solace in the arts before being appointed ambassador to Constantinople in 1700, where war is raging. One morning, Orlando is shocked to wake up as a woman and returns home, struggling as a female to retain her property as the centuries roll by.

Cast & Crew

Billy Zane
Shelmerdine
John Wood
Archduke Harry
Heathcote Williams
Nick Greene, Publisher
Quentin Crisp
Queen Elizabeth I
Thom Hoffman
King William of Orange
Jimmy Somerville
Singer, Angel
Sally Potter
Screenwriter
Aleksei Rodionov
Cinematographer
Ben van Os
Production Design
Michael Howells
Art Director
Sandy Powell
Costume Designer
David Motion
Original Music
Sally Potter
Original Music
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News & Interviews for Orlando

Critic Reviews for Orlando

All Critics (59) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (50) | Rotten (9)

Audience Reviews for Orlando

  • Sep 14, 2013
    Orlando is a pleasant surprise after being bored to death by The Man Who Cried. This highly surrealistic epic takes place over about four centuries (+). Immediately there is a gender confusion in the audience, is Swinton playing a woman or a male? Eventually this is answered, but it goes through a gruesome process to get to clarity. Adapted from Virgina Woolf's novel , this is separated into pieces and themes, my favorites were Love, Death, and Society. The film has highly praised, artistic design, and it is worthy of it. The film swifts from century to century in smooth fashion, making it never a bore. Swinton is great in her many roles as Orlando. For the most part I enjoyed the surrealism, but that last angel scene was painfully cheesy.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Feb 06, 2012
    Nice interesting gender switching tale here that is utterly thought provoking. No one other than Tilda Swinton could make it work as well as it does.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 10, 2011
    Simply put one of the best movies I have ever seen. The cast is amazing and deliver in their performances, the stunning visuals and beautiful music combine to create a dreamy atmosphere through which S. Potter uses Orlando as a medium to make subtle and elegant commentaries about life, the human condition and the struggle of the sexes to understand each other when they are basically two aspects of the same coin. As opposed to some of the other reviewers here I did not find the movie slow or boring at any time. Nor is it just about Orlando; there are multiple layers. It flows simply and quietly but with great intensity and an underlying irony at every moment. This film must be Potter's masterpiece.
    Cassandra M Super Reviewer
  • May 23, 2009
    A true forgotten classic. Watching Orlando is heartbreaking because you know they're never going to make another film as bizarre or beautiful as this ever again. Modern Hollywood just wouldn't allow something involving an androgynous immortal, inexplicable gender changes, the breaking of the fourth wall, and a bizarrely evangelical ending to be distributed, let alone created for 5 million dollars. This is art. It doesn't always make sense, but trying to parse it and giving it personal meaning makes the experience completely worthwhile. Kudos to Sally Potter for creating such an uncompromising adaptation of a Virginia Woolf novel. Kudos to Tilda Swinton, who I fall more in love with every day and who has one of the most exciting and diverse filmographies of any living performer today. Kudos to all involved with this striking, unique, powerful innovation.
    Drew S Super Reviewer

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