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Goya's Ghosts

2008-06-27 17:04
What it's about:

The biographical tale of Spanish painter Francisco Goya (Stellan Skarsgård) and the unfortunate fate of his beautiful muse (Natalie Portman). Held by a corrupt and infatuated priest (Javier Bardem), the painter's muse is imprisoned for many years for a crime she did not commit.

What we thought of it:

Goya's Ghosts is a moving film about the god-fearing ways of the past in which Natalie Portman gives not one but two breathtaking performances. Her versatility and talented acting (not to mention her good looks) make the film a gripping watch, transporting the viewer into a world of unimaginable injustice and tragedy.

Set in Spain during the Spanish Inquisition, one obvious point of weakness is the use of English in this film, particularly because it's the biographical tale of Spanish painter Francisco Goya. The varied accents of the international cast detract from the film's historical authenticity and there's nothing about the film that screams "Spain" apart from the fact that it was shot there. You could be forgiven for thinking it was set in Britain.

Also, the title of the film is misleading. It conjures up images of a trip through the brilliant and perhaps somewhat twisted mind of a renowned artist. You expect to meet a man tormented by the dark forces of beauty or haunted by visions, dreams or at least voices with his only escape being in his art. After all, he was the creator of rather controversial work, especially those commenting on the church. No such luck. According to the film, Goya was quite a regular guy. Yes, a regular guy with a slightly guilty itch about the fact that his muse was arrested by the church and he did nothing to try and prove her innocence.

But despite these flaws the film still manages to draw you in and keep you there. And although the ending is perhaps not the most desirable one, it sticks to the tragic tone of the story.

- Natalie Sineke

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A film that should thank its lucky stars for Natalie Portman's assets – acting and otherwise.

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Leigh 2008-06-24 02:40 PM
Spoiler alert You have pretty much ruined the ending. Your review interested me, and I was keen, but not after the conclusion of the review.

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