- 1 hr 23 min
Barrymore is a 2011 biographical stage-to-film adaptation of a play of the same name by William Luce. The movie stars Christopher Plummer as the titular actor John Barrymore in the last years of his life, with John Plumpis playing the younger actor playing opposite him. Directed by Erik Canuel, the film takes place in 1942 in a Broadway theater and follows Barrymore as he rehearses for a revival of his famous role in Richard III.
The movie is a reflection on the life of John Barrymore, the legendary actor who starred in over 60 films and was known for his distinctive voice, debonair charm, and incredible talent. The film takes place during the latter half of his life when he's a faded and embittered actor, past his prime and living in New York City.
Barrymore begins with Plummer's character, John Barrymore, walking through the deserted halls of a Broadway theater. He's recently been cast in a revival of Richard III, but his reputation precedes him, and many of those involved with the production are wary of working with him. He starts to rehearse for his most famous role, a character he played many times throughout his career, but this time, he's not the same man he once was.
Throughout the film, Plummer seamlessly transitions between rehearsing for Richard III and reflecting on his life and career. The movie includes several monologues where Barrymore speaks to the audience, shedding light on some of the joys and hardships he's faced over the years.
The intertwined stories of the character Barrymore and the actor Plummer are what makes the film so compelling. The movie is as much about Plummer's interpretation of Barrymore as it is about the real-life actor himself. Plummer's performance is remarkable, from the way he moves and speaks to the inflections in his voice. He is a master of his craft, and watching him is nothing short of captivating.
The film is filled with moments of both humor and pathos. Through Plummer's portrayal, we see the complexities of the real John Barrymore's life - his struggles with addiction, his failed marriages, and his relentless desire to keep performing. There is a sense of sadness that hangs over the movie, but it never feels overwhelming or maudlin.
In addition to Plummer's performance, the film's direction and cinematography are exceptional. The camera work frequently switches back-and-forth between close-ups and medium shots, giving the audience an intimate look at Plummer's performance. The lighting is superb, with the stage and backstage areas of the theater looking realistic and lived-in.
Overall, Barrymore is a well-crafted, engaging, and moving film. It examines the life of a great actor and the complexities that came with being a celebrity in the early 20th century. Plummer's performance is one of the best of his career, and the film is a beautiful tribute to the legacy of John Barrymore.
Barrymore is a 2011 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 23 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.2 and a MetaScore of 61.