Metascore
44

Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 30
  2. Negative: 12 out of 30
  1. 88
    This one-of-a-kind spellbinder from first-time director Laurence Dunmore is not afraid to shock. Depp is a raunchy wonder, especially in a time-capsule-worthy opening monologue.
  2. As the imperious actress (and whore) Elizabeth Barry, the unlikely object of Wilmot's affection, Samantha Morton finds the soul in a woman who's hard as nails, and Tom Hollander and Rosamund Pike also provide excellent support. The haunting score is by Michael Nyman.
  3. 75
    Depp accepts the character and all of its baggage, and works without a net.
  4. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    75
    This film isn't pretty, but it has some kick: It is to "Shakespeare in Love" what wild pheasant is to Chicken McNuggets.
  5. Johnny Depp makes a riveting antihero in a dark and bawdy period drama.
  6. An interesting film, and a good one, with a harrowing performance by Depp, whose apparent enjoyment of the role seems only to increase as his character deteriorates.
  7. As the depraved John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester, Johnny Depp adds yet another sly sleazoid to his burgeoning portrait gallery.
  8. It's a bit too muddy, dismal-looking and smoky to beguile us, too fixated on filth and too dreary-looking to really shock us.
  9. Illuminated by dim candles and the rare glimmer of sun, the movie is grainy, closed-in, and likely to cause spasms of claustrophobia.
  10. 63
    Johnny Depp's coruscating, rigorously uningratiating performance as debauched, self-destructive 17th-century aristocrat John Wilmot, the Earl of Rochester, is the glue that doesn't quite hold together first-time director Laurence Dunmore's adaptation of Stephen Jeffreys' 1994 play.
  11. A movie that serves up what its debauched subject would never have countenanced -- sanitized smut with a moral attached.
  12. 50
    Do we like John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester? As played by Depp, this 17th-century nobleman-cum-travesty is a carriage crash of epic proportions, and so it's difficult not to crane your neck around to get a better view of the proceedings.
  13. Unfortunately, the dialogue undermines the movie's promise.
  14. The Libertine's trouble lies precisely in its efforts at conjuring the historical past: No one in the film seems much more convinced than I am that because playwrights and authors wrote in clever, high post-Elizabethan diction, then everyone spoke that way every day, in the pubs, with whores.
  15. The rhythms of the dialogue move to the same beat as steadily as a metronome ticks and tocks, while every sentence is polished like stone, absent the jaggedness of real breath and life. You can hear the play in this thing without even knowing it was based on a theatrical production.
  16. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    50
    Starting out seductive but ending up tiresome, debuting director Laurence Dunmore's pic is an honorable misfire.
  17. 50
    Deep and Morton are really flying here (the scene in which the hero instructs the heroine in the passionate possibilities of her art), and they leave the rest of the film looking heavy on its feet. The second half, especially, grows dour and maundering, and by the end the movie seems to flail in desperation, more like a work in progress than like a finished piece.
  18. 42
    But by the end, you're only watching to see how far Wilmot's pustules will spread, or whether his various diseases will really make his nose fall off.
  19. Not since Philip Kaufman's 2000 "Quills," the story of the Marquis de Sade, have we had so debauched a literary and movie hero, and Johnny Depp plays him with the relish of an actor who has made odd-ball characters his specialty.
  20. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    38
    If your idea of a good time is watching a disjointed period piece featuring a scrawny dog defecating, dozens of dissipated people fornicating and a syphilitic Johnny Depp with oozing pustules on his face, The Libertine may be just the movie for you.
  21. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    38
    A glorious disaster.
  22. What comes from the mouth of Johnny Depp...not the crucial spark of wit or insight that could encourage us to spend two hours with this cruel bore.
  23. 33
    Dunmore creates a memorably grimy London, but the moral grime covering the film proves less memorable.
  24. A trying experience. As we watch Rochester fall apart in spectacular fashion, it's clear that a major lure for the venturesome Depp was the chance to play a grotesque, to become a pestilent physical wreck with an artificial silver nose. There's more in that role for the actor, however, than there is for us.
  25. It doesn't help matters that The Libertine seems to unload every olde English cliche on file.
  26. 25
    What is most beguiling about The Libertine is that it allows Wilmot to self-destruct without ever giving us cause to care or relate.
  27. Reviewed by: Neva Chonin
    25
    There is little debauchery to be had in Laurence Dunmore's adaptation of The Libertine. In fact, hedonism has never looked so bleak.
  28. Despite its title, the movie could hardly be less erotic. Indeed, promiscuity has never looked more totally unappealing, and its final scenes of Wilmot's advanced venereal disease are enough to make you take a vow of celibacy. A great date movie, this is not.
  29. 20
    The picture is an enormous disappointment... The result is one of the most self-consciously grimy movies on record - it looks as if the negative were developed in a mud bath.
  30. The Libertine is such a torturous mess that it winds up doing something I hadn't thought possible: It renders Johnny Depp charmless.
User Score
6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 45 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 24
  2. Negative: 7 out of 24
  1. Apr 27, 2014
    10
    Absolute 10. One of my favorite movies. Great story, wonderful performances by all actors involved. Very Shakespearean feel, dark and moody, and also extremely sensual. I don't know why this movie wasn't given an Oscar. I guess movies about little known poets don't provide for a wide enough viewership. See it repeatedly. It will stay with you forever. Full Review »
  2. Aug 30, 2013
    10
    A masterpiece!!! I really loved that movie. Johnny Depp has a gift and that's why is the best actor in the world. Do not miss it!!! That's the true story of the second Earl of Rochester! Full Review »
  3. VivW
    Feb 18, 2007
    0
    This is where you need a minus section, just a long drawn out ramblings out of all context,vwaste of money.