Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Dysfuctional Family Films

With the Holidays upon us, there are countless movies everyone curls up to see.

My favorite is always The Lion in Winter.

It does take place over a Christmas holiday in 1183, with King Henry II, his estranged and imprisoned wife Eleanor, and their 3 sons, as they scheme and plot over Henry's successor. This is dysfunction at it's finest. It always makes me feel much better about my family.

Katherine Hepburn turns in one of her finest performances, and ties with Barbra for the Oscar. This was filmed right after the death of Spencer Tracy, and you can see it in every scene she is in, which magnifies Eleanor in ways unimaginable.

One of the best scenes in the film is when Eleanor sends Richard to negotiate with Phillip of France (A young and hot Timothy Dalton in his film debut). As the scene unravels, you find out of the love affair between the two. Richard (Anthony Hopkins) is still very much in love with Phillip, and you can see the pain in his face as he discloses this, all while his brothers are hiding behind curtains. Henry barges in and Phillip uses Richard and his love against the King. It is heartbreaking.

This was remade in 2003 for Showtime with Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close But No Cigar. I refuse to watch it.

Incidentally, Katherine Hepburn was descended from Eleanor of Aquitaine on both sides...

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