Tristan + Isolde (2006)
A Timeless Love Tale Beautifully Retold!
One of the great love stories from the medieval courtly romances,
"Tristan and Isolde" has received many different treatments from
medieval poets such as Gottfried of Strasbourg to the haunting opera by
the nineteenth-century German composer Ricard Wagner. In each of the
versions of the story, there are new and different plot details in this
tragic love story.
In Kevin Reynolds' film adaptation, the most intriguing new twist from
the traditional story is the way in which Tristan and Isolde meet. In
this version, Tristan is given up for dead following a battle in
Cornwall and washes ashore in Ireland in a boat only to be discovered
by Isolde. She then uses her magical herbs to cure him. In Gottfried's
medieval tale, the two young people drink a love potion from a goblet
of wine. In this film, the young people fall instantly in love without
any need of an elixir.
In two touching performances, the young lovers are played by James
Franco and Sophia Myles. Their on-screen chemistry is electric, and
their scenes together are filmed effectively by Reynolds in beautiful
location settings. The film also explores themes of medieval chivalry
and honor. Rufus Sewell delivers an excellent performance as King Mark
caught in the love triangle that recalls the famous story of King
Arthur, Lancelot, and Guineviere.
There are also great action sequences in "Tristan and Isolde,"
including battles, tournaments, and medieval siege warfare. But the
most memorable scenes are the intimate moments with Tristan and Isolde.
Their fateful meeting and the unfolding of their relationship make this
film worthwhile for audiences both familiar with the legend and for
those being introduced to this timeless love story for the first time.
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