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Tulip Fever

Rated 14 Accompaniment (Nudity, Sexual Content) ~ Runs 105 minutes

Dir.: Justin Chadwick, UK/US

Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, Christoph Waltz, Jack O'Connell

“Amsterdam, 1634: a town gripped by tulip mania. That's going to require a bit of explanation, isn't it? The tulip had only recently been introduced to Europe, and quickly became a status symbol in the Netherlands. In what's widely considered the first instance of the ‘speculator bubble’ phenomenon, the prices for tulip bulbs soared — and eventually, inevitably, crashed. Tulip Fever, like the best-selling 1999 novel on which it's based, is set during this period of collective obsession - and wild speculation. Wealthy merchant Cornelius, married to the beautiful and much younger Sophia, hires promising young painter Jan Van Loos to take their portrait... It doesn't take too many posing sessions for them to do more than just look at each other. The two begin a torrid affair; dashing through Amsterdam's teeming streets and markets to avoid detection, lingering awhile in those where traders calculate dividends while bidding on tulip futures. The screenplay blends virtue and vanity, God and guilders, bulbs and blackmail. And if it's got too much of some of those elements to fit comfortably into one movie, it has still been cleverly penned by Moggach and playwright Tom Stoppard. Stoppard wrote the screenplay for Shakespeare in Love, which brought wit and romance to this same period. Tulip Fever is not in that film's league, but it's lush and boisterous and crammed with the sort of arts gossip and commerce trivia that go nicely with gilded frames and talk of tulip futures. Where else would you learn, for instance, that Renaissance painters dressed the Virgin Mary in blue not because it was the color of purity, but because it was the color that cost the most.” - Bob Mondello, NPR. “Imaginative, enthralling and original... 17th century Amsterdam comes to life with lavish sets, rapturous costumes, wonderful actors and the lush beauty of a Vermeer painting. It is not without a few problems, but I found this astonishing movie so rich and satisfying that I liked it in spite of itself. It’s the kind of guilty pleasure that sometimes confuses, but never bores. Color it flawed but gorgeous.” - Rex Reed, The Observe



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October 22