"The Last King" is no exception. Like the stories based on Henry VIII and his wives, Elizabeth I and Marie Antoinette, the story of King Charles II of England is filled with high drama and conflict that provides ample entertainment to viewers. For the sake of oversimplifying, I would liken it to a cross between the film "Elizabeth" (starring Cate Blanchett) and the TV miniseries "Tom Jones" (starring Max Beesley).
When the story begins we find Charles in dire straits - he is in exile from his home country; his father, Charles I, has been murdered; and Oliver Cromwell now 'governs' England. Upon the death of Cromwell, Charles is invited back to rule England where he finds his country torn apart between Catholics and Protestants. Throughout his rule, Charles II earned a reputation as the 'merry monarch' - a man who loves art and music and counts gambling and women among his vices. He collects many mistresses throughout his lifetime - most notably Barbara Villiers (Helen McCrory) and the actress Nell Gwynn (Emma Pierson) - and has a childless marriage with the Portuguese princess Catherine de Braganza (Shirley Henderson). While he remains Protestant, his wife is Catholic and his younger brother (and heir) James converts to Catholicism, which only fuels the fire with the predominantly Protestant Parliament.Read more ›
The casting is wonderful. The acting is brilliant. The costumes are gorgeous. The writing is captivating. Every time I watched it, it was just as wonderful as the time before. I opted to buy the DVD because I felt cheated when I heard it was a 4 hour drama. A&E only had it as a 3 hour. What wonders did I mess out on?!
There is nothing about this series that I didn't like. It had the right balance of politics to help understand what a King's duties are-without making it dry and boring. There's enough tasteful romance in it to keep it racy without being obscene. I was impressed with the historical accuracy. You CAN make a period drama interesting without compromising it's integrity.
I cannot say enough about this drama. It is perhaps the best movie I have ever watched!!
My only question: Did the king love the queeen? Is that the reason he stayed married to her?
I can't wait until I get my copy so I can watch it again!!