Movie Monday: Lionheart (2003)

I know it’s been a long time since our last Movie Monday, but I started to run out of cheeseball epics and I don’t hate myself enough to watch Bonekickers. Yet.

But our film today is a little bit of an oddity. It is:


I spotted this 2003 made-for-TV film at a charity shop or a car boot sale or somewhere and yoinked it without thinking about it — for blogging purposes! Then I sort of forgot about it for a bit. The thing that mainly fascinated me about it was that it purported to be a family drama about the relationship between Henry II and his family. I figured that the filmmakers had to have some pretty big brass balls to do that, since, you know, The Lion in Winter exists already.

So I sit down and I start watching this, and it has a pretty good cast. As Henry II, you’ve got Patrick Stewart:


And here’s Glenn Close as an Elf of the Last Alliance Eleanor of Aquitaine.


You know the story: Richard and Geoffrey rebel against Henry (there is nothing so ludicrous as the sight of eight guys double-timing somewhere in two ranks. It looks like an episode of Sharpe), they lose, Henry locks Eleanor up, and I’m starting to think hang on

… it is The Lion in Winter!

And it is! A 2003 made for TV remake — you can even buy it under its original name. I have to say that that DVD cover gives a very misleading impression.

Also, Prince John is Rafe Spall, back when he was fat! He is charmingly awkward.

johnnyAnyway, I’m not going to point-by-point review the whole thing, because if I’m going to talk about The Lion in Winter, I’m going to talk about the one with Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn.

It’s interesting, though: there are some bits of history that are seen as good opportunities for personal drama. Henry VIII, obviously, but Henry II is another one. Is it just the influence of The Lion in Winter? I guess I have previously reviewed Becket on this blog, and then when I was a kid I certainly read A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver. It seems to be a thing. Whereas Richard II is mainly in action movies and adventure novels.

Also, Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays the king of France in this, looking exactly like Jonathan Rhys Meyers with a big dumb crown on his head.


So anyway. It is a version of The Lion in Winter. I was surprised. It has some good people in it, the production values are reasonable, and it’s overall quite good fun, but whatever flaws of interpretation it has are just the flaws of interpretation of the original, so it’s hard to say anything too exciting about it.

Movie Monday: Lionheart (2003)