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Henry of Navarre

2010 2h 35m History Drama List
Reviews 33% Audience Score 50+ Ratings
A soldier fighting for religious freedom becomes king of France during the 16th century. Read More Read Less

Audience Reviews

View All (9) audience reviews
Audience Member The history is a bit spotty, but Baier has made a film that's still worth seeing. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/18/23 Full Review Audience Member In 16th Century France, political power walks hand in hand with religion as the Royal Family are devout Catholics and Huguenots (early Protestants) are treated as second-class citizens. Henry (Julien Boisselier) is a Huguenot military leader who has become a hero in Navarre, a territory in Southwest France, and as Nostradamus (Fritz Marquardt) predicts a remarkable future for him, he is introduced to Catherine de' Medici (Hannelore Hoger), the Catholic queen of France. Catherine clearly holds power over feeble-minded King Charles IX (Ulrich Noethen), and she is keen on holding on to her position by seeing her sons go on to rule the nation. But as the Huguenots become restless and Henry looks to be the potential leader of a revolt, Catherine arranges a marriage between Henry and her daughter Margot (Armelle Deutsch), certain the alliance will stop the budding conflict. But the nuptials only leads to the infamous St. Bartholomew's Day massacre as Catholics attack Huguenots, leading to the death of thirty thousand people. Henry is captured by the Queen's army but escapes to lead the Huguenots in a war against the throne; while Henry is forced to resort to violent means, his goal is to end the fighting by establishing religious freedom and ending faith-based rule in France... This french big budget costume drama was alluring at sight, but unfortunately it sinks under its own weight due to several reasons. The biggest problem being the fact that the film was shot with each actor saying his dialogue in his or her native tongue, which would then be dubbed over in the other language in post-production depending on the market, and this is painfully obvious with a constant involuntarily comic agenda as a result that never lose its grip of the movie. This has spread both to the acting, the direction (bombastic and over the top) and the general dramatisation of the story. It´s way too long as well and there´s not much you feel compelled to like as non of the characters are interesting nor intriguing. Well, I will say that Armelle Deutsch made an impression on me as Margot, but the rest is forgettable. Nah, this is not working in my book. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 02/21/23 Full Review Audience Member Nicely filmed in places but the story s very choppy jumpping years at a time. Ending is very abrupt. Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 02/12/23 Full Review Audience Member A slightly arthouse slanted re-telling of some fascinating late 16th and early 17th century French history, specifically, the accession of the first Huguenot king of France, Henry of Navarre (1553-1610). The presentation of the amazing corruption (and rampant debauchery) at the royal court prior to the accession is pretty in your face, and the bloodiness of the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre of the Huguenot protestants in 1572 is not pleasant viewing. The acting and style of Henri 4 is distracting and a bit chaotic, but the costumes and sets are very good, as is the general narrative. I should also mention that the film is entirely in French, with subtitles. All up Henri 4 is an educational film for those of us that are largely unacquainted with some of the basics of French history of this period. I might just mention that this film contains a very funny sex scene as Henri, a habitual philanderer, consummates his politically motivated marriage with Marie de Medici, who is portrayed as a prude. There are a few other brief sexual escapades in this film that are unconventional to say the least. You have been warned :) Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/21/23 Full Review Audience Member There is no doubting that this is a beautifully made and acted historical drama but at 2hr 35min and being adapted from 2 novels there is too much to fit into the running time. Characters come and go without explanation and you can't help but feel that so much of the political intrigue that was at work during this period is sacrificed for the running time. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/08/23 Full Review Audience Member I want to see more glitzy movies that bring early modern European history into popular consciousness - and I'm not too fussy if they take liberties with the agreed facts. This movie is glitzy, somewhat tendentious, and overdoes the sex, but, on balance, an interesting movie. Not a masterpiece but, likewise on balance, worth seeing. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/29/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Henry of Navarre

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Movie Info

Synopsis A soldier fighting for religious freedom becomes king of France during the 16th century.
Jo Baier
Regina Ziegler
Jo Baier
History, Drama
Original Language
Release Date (DVD)
Dec 7, 2010
2h 35m