Watch Quills

"Meet the Marquis de Sade. The pleasure is all his."
  • R
  • 2000
  • 2 hr 4 min
  • 7.2  (56,565)
  • 70

Quills is a 2000 historical drama directed by Philip Kaufman, set in the late 18th century, in the infamous Charenton Asylum near Paris, France. The movie is based on Doug Wright's play "Quills." It tells the story of the final years of the Marquis de Sade's life, who is confined due to his immoral writing, and the young laundry maid and beautiful admirer Madeleine LeClerc.

Geoffrey Rush stars as Marquis de Sade, a scandalous aristocrat, who is infamous for his scandalous and explicit writing, evoking a negative response from the public and government authorities. After having been imprisoned for several years, he is now being held in the Charenton Asylum under the watchful eye of Dr. Royer-Collard (Michael Caine). Dr. Collard, who is a strict disciplinarian, thinks that de Sade is too much of a danger to society and his immoral behavior is something that needs to be eradicated for the good of society.

It is in Charenton Asylum that Madeleine LeClerc (Kate Winslet) begins her job as a laundry maid. She is shocked and repulsed by de Sade's writings, which are being smuggled out of the asylum to be published. However, despite her initial disgust of him, she develops an unlikely friendship with the Marquis, becoming his only link to the outside world. They eventually begin an affair.

Meanwhile, Dr. Collard is utilizing brutal methods of treatment in the asylum, thinking he can cure these "mad" men of their depravity. When de Sade's newest manuscript is discovered and published in Paris, with the help of Madeleine, Dr. Collard is ashamed and humiliated by the public reaction to his treatment. He meets with Abbe Coulmier (Joachin Phoenix), a progressive priest who is the Charenton Asylum's director. Dr. Collard strikes up a deal with Coulmier to utilize new methods of treatment for the patients, promising to persuade the authorities to send more funding if Coulmier agrees to keep a closer eye on the Marquis's writings and personal relationships.

Dr. Collard finds his own repressed and kinky sexual desires awakened when he becomes obsessed with Madeleine, and he sees that de Sade is attempting to corrupt her with his explicit writing. The movie climaxes with a showdown between the Marquis and Dr. Collard, as the doctor tries to silence the Marquis's seductive language once and for all.

The performances in Quills are exceptional, with Geoffrey Rush being especially notable in his portrayal of de Sade. Rush manages to evoke both fascination and horror when he recites de Sade's writings. Kate Winslet delivers a solid and nuanced role as Madeleine, which demonstrates her range as an actress, as does Michael Caine's performance as the stern and unfeeling Dr. Collard. Joachin Phoenix gives a great performance as the naive and gullible Abbe Coulmier.

The movie's direction and cinematography contribute to giving the film an eerie and macabre feel, revealing the dark side of human experience. The audience is thrust into an era where moral values were strictly enforced, forcing those that underperform to have to adapt to a dark dog-eat-dog environment, leading to the inevitable question of what happens to people when society's moral standards are just a facade.

In conclusion, Quills is a thoughtful, thought-provoking, and visually stunning movie that deals with themes of sexual repression, censorship, and human behavior when forced to conform to societal norms. Philip Kaufman's direction is as masterful as always, and the performances delivered by a star-studded cast are phenomenal. This movie is a must-watch for those who enjoy historical dramas that delve into complex human behaviors and societal norms.

Quills is a 2000 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 4 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.2 and a MetaScore of 70.

Where to Watch Quills
Quills is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Quills for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 4 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (56,565)
  • Metascore