Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Aficionados of period dramas and believable portrayals of historical royalty would do well to check out Goya's Ghosts (2006), set in Spain during the Napoleonic wars. As I wrote at my Movies page, Randy Quaid and Blanca Portillo are so convincing as King Carlos IV (1748-1819; reigned 1788-1808) and Queen Maria Luisa (1751-1819) that they might have stepped out of Goya's (Stellan Sjarsgård) portrait.
Neither the Church nor the Revolution are spared, so that it is hard to figure out precisely where the film stands, except with its mistreated heroine played movingly by Natalie Portman. One wonders if the Spanish Inquisition in the late 18th century was still truly as harsh as depicted, though apart from the existence of certain historical events and personages the film makes no claim to be anything but fiction.