The Tempest


The Tempest

Critics Consensus

Director Julie Taymor's gender-swapping of roles and some frenzied special effects can't quite disguise an otherwise stagey, uninspired take on Shakespeare's classic.



Total Count: 89


Audience Score

User Ratings: 19,167
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Movie Info

The sorceress Prospera's journey spirals through vengeance to forgiveness as she reigns over a magical island, cares for her young daughter, Miranda, and unleashes her powers against shipwrecked enemies in this exciting, masterly mix of romance, tragicomedy and the supernatural.


Critic Reviews for The Tempest

All Critics (89) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (62)

  • The film has plenty of detractors who see Taymor's approach as strained and overwrought, but Mirren finds some grace notes that no Prospero could ever have sounded.

    Apr 20, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The special effects are intrusive and anything but magical and the text is rather curiously edited. But it's worth seeing for Mirren.

    Mar 7, 2011 | Full Review…

    Philip French

    Top Critic
  • Mirren is a powerful presence: maybe gender-bending Shakespeare is the only way to give Mirren the movie roles she deserves.

    Mar 4, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • An inspired, but sometimes irksome take on 400 year old material.

    Mar 3, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • You expect Nicolas Cage to pop up from behind a sand dune on a Harley brandishing a rocket launcher.

    Mar 2, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Cath Clarke

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Taymor, by turning Prospero into a woman while retaining an "imperialist" view of Caliban, will no doubt simultaneously please and enrage left-wing critics. The rest of us can enjoy the movie's strengths...

    Dec 27, 2010

    David Denby

    New Yorker
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Tempest

  • Oct 08, 2015
    The Tempest is an enjoyable production and is reminiscent of the Chinese fantasy / comedy / romance genre of films. However, there is nothing particularly outstanding about The Tempest. It is all nicely done, nice location, costuming, and effects, and a notable performance by Helen Mirren, but it is missing a certain wistfulness and charm. Still, the film is fine, all-in-all, and worth a look.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 10, 2013
    Worth watching for Helen Mirren. She's excellent as usual. The movie isn't great, but it's much better than 29%.
    Morris N Super Reviewer
  • Oct 01, 2012
    This one is hard to keep up with because of languaged used, old english. Has a good plot. 3 stars
    Bruce B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 04, 2012
    Once the Duchess of Milan, Prospera(Helen Mirren) has suffered through twelve years of exile which have done little to lower her ire at those she finds responsible. One day, she takes revenge by casting a spell through the sprite Ariel(Ben Whishaw) that capsizes the boat Antonio(Chris Cooper), the new duke, is traveling on with King Alonso(David Strathairn) of Naples, amongst others. Her teenaged daughter Miranda(Felicity Jones) manages to assuage her anger just in time. So she has them desposited safely on a beach somewhere on the island, with Alonso's son Ferdinand(Reeve Carney) arriving safely elsewhere. Now, with that all done, Caliban(Djimon Hounsou) would like to file a complaint... If all Julie Taymor had brought to this version of William Shakespeare's venerable play was its great look, impressive design and Helen Mirren, it would have gone a long way towards putting this definitely in the win column. Sad to say, she doesn't stop there, going overboard on the visual effects.(Just remember that the play is the thing.) Putting together a great supporting cast is usually a very good idea in cases like this. But here, it verges on stunt casting in a couple of prime examples and Taymor does little to rein them in, throwing the movie off balance in the bargain. That having been said, I now believe that Chris Cooper would fit in well no matter what movie he appears in.
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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