Critic Consensus: Though hard to watch, this film's disturbing exploration of freedom of expression is both seductive and thought-provoking.
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Critic Reviews for Quills
It pokes at sexual taboos - it's pretty subversive, considering - but sexuality and creativity are indelibly linked, and its true subject is expression, repression and catharsis.
Quills, about the marquis de Sade, is a voluptuous impasto. Everything in it -- the colors, the locations, the people -- seems swirled with a mixture of decadence and grace.
More heavy-handed than memorable.
A marvelous, saucy romp.
The material benefits from a top-rank cast that fleshes out what could seem merely an exercise in philosophy.
Audience Reviews for Quills
My love for this film runs very deep indeed. As a fan of the Marquis de Sade and everything spawned after his name, as well as an advocate for the the uncensored underbelly of the literary greats, this film possessed everything someone such as myself could hope for. Moments of genuine hilarity blunted by the brutish historical truth, every single character in this film has a role to play and plays it magnificently. Rush is a superbly talented actor who never fails to keep my eyes on the screen and even Phoenix is acceptable as a preist with a naughty streak. A truly magnificent film.
With a brilliant cast I did expect more from this. I'm unsure if she was going for a some sort of style, but Winslet looked like she couldn't act. Maybe that was just her character. Rush did a fantastic job as usual. I would have liked a better explanation to the beginning part. It seemed out of place compared to the rest of the film.
An adaptation of the play based on a chapter of the life of the infamous Marquis De Sade whose lascivious writings scandalized post revolutionary France. Set within the walls of a church-run lunatic asylum where the Marquis was incarcerated to avoid the ignominy of prison, he is shown as a rebel using his literature to infuriate the religious establishment. Geoffrey Rush clearly relished the role and is ably supported by Joaquin Phoenix as the asylum's governor, a good man trapped within the framework of an intolerant heirarchy and Kate Winslett as the common serving girl who helps the Marquis distribute his works. Michael Caine is a little less convincing, probably because of his casting against type as the cruel, sadistic tyrant who is dispatched to "cure" him. It has shades of both Amadeus and The Madness Of King George, although the characterisation and drama of those films is not quite matched here, but it's an interesting and well made historical drama that's worth seeing for Rush's performance alone.
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