Mysteries of Lisbon (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes

Mysteries of Lisbon2011

Mysteries of Lisbon (2011)



Critic Consensus: Mysteries of Lisbon achieves an epic heft through an unhurried pace and lush photography, its beguiling episodes culminating in an impressive whole that justifies a lengthy runtime.

Mysteries of Lisbon Photos

Movie Info

Raul Ruiz's masterful adaptation of the eponymous nineteenth-century Portuguese novel (by Camilo Castelo Branco) evokes the complex intertwined narratives of Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens. The core story centers on Joao, the bastard child of an ill-fated romance between two members of the aristocracy who are forbidden to marry, and his quest to discover the truth of his parentage. But this is just the start of an engrossing tale that follows a multitude of characters whose fates conjoin, separate and then rejoin again over three decades in Portugal, Spain, France and Italy. --(C) Music Box

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Adriano Luz
as padre Dinis
Maria João Bastos
as Angela de Lima
Ricardo Pereira
as Alberto de Magalhaes
Afonso Pimentel
as Pedro da Silva
João Luis Arrais
as Pedro da Silva - Child
Clotilde Hesme
as Elisa de Montfort
Léa Seydoux
as Blanche de Montfort
Melvil Poupaud
as Ernesto Lacroze
Malik Zidi
as Visconde Armagnac
São José Correia
as Anacieta dos Remédios
Albano Jerónimo
as Count of Santa Barbara
Martin Loizillon
as Sebastiao de Melo
Rui Morrison
as Marquis of Montezelos
Carloto Cotta
as D. Alvaro de Albuquerque
Manuel Jose Mendes
as Friar Baltasar da Encarnacao
Margarida Vila-Nova
as Marquise of Alfarela
Catarina Wallenstein
as Countess of Arosa
André Gomes
as Barao de Sa
Bernard Lanneau
as Father Dinis (French Voice), Father Dinis
Dinarte Branco
as Dilettante
Helena Coelho
as Marquise of Santa Eulalia
José Airosa
as Bernardo
Nuno Távora
as Dilettante
Paulo Pinto
as D. Martinho de Almeida
Pedro Carmo
as Gentleman
Vânia Rodrigues
as D. Antonia
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Critic Reviews for Mysteries of Lisbon

All Critics (57) | Top Critics (33)

All these could be seen as gratuitous flourishes of auteur style, but they serve to undermine the naturalistic illusion, to remind us that everything we see is an effect of narration - and perhaps, more than that, of dream.

July 6, 2018

If you have time, dip in.

December 9, 2011 | Rating: 3/5

[It reminds] us of Ruiz's gifts with light and colour, his ambitions with narrative, his sometimes interesting, sometimes frustrating remoteness, and his preoccupations with myth, the avant-garde and 19th-century classicism, all at once.

December 8, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

This über-snooze of a costume epic, based on a Portuguese novel, has flickers of surreal invention like valedictory memory spasms.

December 8, 2011 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

For those with open minds, the cinema of Ruiz offers enormous and unique pleasure.

December 8, 2011 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

The production design and costumes are immaculate, while Ruiz's camera glides around soirées, ducks under tables and peers from behind curtains.

December 6, 2011 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Mysteries of Lisbon


In "Mysteries of Lisbon," Joao(Joao Luis Arrias) is already suffering through school enough without the local bullies picking up on his being an orphan. After falling suddenly ill, he sees an unfamiliar figure through the feverish haze. When he recovers, Father Dinis(Adriano Luz) tells him that it was Angela(Maria Joao Bastos), a countess, who is also Joao's mother. However, all is not happiness for all concerned as she is kept prisoner by her husband who has switched her role with the maid. Still, business and wars call him away for business often which gives them time to get to know each other. But one time they miscalculate, forcing her to flee and Father Dinis also to give her sanctuary, along with a trusted servant. "Mysteries of Lisbon" is a handsomely produced film(reportedly culled from an even longer miniseries) that moves along at its own languid pace, helping to recreate a past world of much tighter social norms that are violated at one's own risk. Apparently, the Catholic Church was the witness protection program of that time period with many of the characters having a complicated back story and more than one name which can be challenging to keep track of for casual viewers.(In any case, I'm glad I did not try to see this in a theatre.) So subtle is the storytelling that I did not realize this movie took place in the 1840's until it got around to bringing up the French Revolution, as I know so very little about Portugese history.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Its an impressive film, it sustains itself thematically and holds your interest for its 4 1/2 hour run time while really playing around with the audience's perception of whats real or imagined. It weaves in and out of stories and stories within those stories so seamlessly and it covers just about every standard theme imaginable. 'Mysteries of Lisbon' is the very definition of the word whimsical. ' Like 'Barry Lyndon' or 'Fanny and Alexander' its bound to become a standard for considerably lengthy costume dramas

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

"Mysteries of Lisbon" is the slowest, most sleep-inducing film I've ever seen. It was painful at times to try to stay awake through its interminable four hours. It's not even that interesting. If it had been better directed and edited, I think I still would have been disappointed by it. It astonishes me that this bourgeois soap opera is being raved about by some top-notch critics. It is beautiful to look at; that's for sure. But films have to be way more than visually beautiful. They must have something to say. This film has little to say. It is soap opera given a high bourgeois treatment by a director (Chilean director Raul Ruiz) who loves mainstream 19th-century fiction. If Mr. Ruiz had any interest in the 21st century, he might be an interesting artist for us today. But he doesn't. He wants to go back in time to 1820, and he should. Even if he had anything fresh and interesting to say about the 19th century, that would be something. But he doesn't even have that. As an artist, he's embalmed.

William Dunmyer
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

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