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      Prospero's Books

      R Released Nov 15, 1991 2h 1m Drama Fantasy List
      62% Tomatometer 26 Reviews 83% Audience Score 2,500+ Ratings Shakespeare's exiled duke (John Gielgud) tells his tale in calligraphy in this version of "The Tempest." Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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      Prospero's Books

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      Critics Consensus

      There is no middle ground for viewers of Peter Greenaway's work, but for his fans, Prospero's Books is reliably daring.

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      Critics Reviews

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      Variety Staff Variety The product of a feverish, overflowing imagination, this almost impossibly dense take on The Tempest displays both the director's audacious brilliance and lewd extravagance at full tilt. Jul 3, 2008 Full Review Jonathan Rosenbaum Chicago Reader Gone is any sense of drama or character; the cluttered spectacle yields no overriding design but simply disconnected MTV-like conceits or mini-ideas every three seconds. Jul 3, 2008 Full Review Geoff Andrew Time Out To some degree, the relentless proliferation of ideas smothers the dramatic highs and lows, but this is a minor quibble compared to the sheer ambition and audacity of the overall conception. Feb 9, 2006 Full Review Terry Francis Southern Voice (Atlanta) The film's high-culture chic is certified by the endless stream of writhing, naked bodies -- Cecil B. De Mille must be drooling in his grave -- and the vivid optical effects keep you alert even as the story fails to grip. Rated: 2/4 May 8, 2023 Full Review Rene Jordan El Nuevo Herald (Miami) Prospero's Books is alarming megalomania and self-serving fantasy on a grand scale. [Full review in Spanish] Dec 9, 2022 Full Review TV Guide Does it work? That depends on whether you find Greenaway's elaborate visual conceits and rarified narrative structures daring and liberating, or boringly self-indulgent. Rated: 3/4 Jul 3, 2008 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      Audience Member William Shakespeare's play of the Tempest is adapted by director Peter Greenaway This is the story of Prospero's past and his revenge... A magician/duke named Prospero was banished from his coveted library to an island He only has his daughter with him as comfort Yet he finds revenge in writing a story narrating each of the characters But the snag is that his daughter, Miranda starts to fall in love with the son of his chief enemy named Ferdinand The movie is most ostensibly known for its use of nudity throughout but it draws inspiration from many Renaissance paintings Yet the nude actors and extras represent a cross-section of male and female humanity So it's more for poetic storytelling purposes than being erogenous It's a visual splendor no doubt and there's massive attention to detail reciting Shakespeare's play It will work or won't for viewers depending on whether you find Greenaway's elaborate visual conceits and rarified narrative structures daring and liberating, or boringly self-indulgent No middle ground for sure but for fans of this late poet they will get their fill Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 01/22/23 Full Review robert m Whoa! This is mind-bending stuff. A cult classic. It's not Shakespeare as told in junior high school but it wil take you inside of Prospero's mind. Enjoy the trip. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Audience Member John Gielgud reading Shakespeare as only he can, along with dizzying visuals. what more could one ask for ? Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/19/23 Full Review Audience Member I'm not sure Shakespeare intended The Tempest to have this much nudity of overproduced artistic scenery, but it is still an enjoyable ride. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/21/23 Full Review Audience Member (G) 8.1 [Peter Greenaway] Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/22/23 Full Review Audience Member Collaborating with Michael Nyman andSacha Vierny once again, Peter Greenaway creates a stunningly beautiful and creative reinterpretation of Shakespeare. While it does reach beyond its scope from time to time -- this is a bold and sensual art film. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/22/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      Prospero's Books

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      Cast & Crew

      80% 84% Ridicule 67% 64% Artemisia 88% 89% Smoke 71% 58% Restoration 60% 70% The Day Reagan Was Shot Discover more movies and TV shows. View More

      Movie Info

      Synopsis Shakespeare's exiled duke (John Gielgud) tells his tale in calligraphy in this version of "The Tempest."
      Director
      Peter Greenaway
      Producer
      Kees Kasander
      Screenwriter
      William Shakespeare, Peter Greenaway
      Distributor
      Miramax Films
      Production Co
      Miramax
      Rating
      R
      Genre
      Drama, Fantasy
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Nov 15, 1991, Original
      Box Office (Gross USA)
      $1.1M
      Runtime
      2h 1m
      Sound Mix
      Surround
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