MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +1 1/2

Content: -2

Robert Downey Jr. plays the role of Robert Merivel, the high-spirited and at times foolish young physician in RESTORATION. When the Court of King Charles II (Sam Neill) invites him to become Royal Physician, Merivel cheerfully abandons his medical studies. At the king's request, he enters into a marriage of convenience with Celia (Polly Walker), the youngest of the king's royal mistresses. In return, Merivel is granted knighthood and a country estate. However, he must forgo any conjugal rights to his bride. The king's portrait painter, Finn (Hugh Grant), encourages Merivel to break his vows to the king by having relations with Celia, but she rebuffs his advances and tells the king. Thrown out of his estate and stripped of his title, Merivel joins his friend John (David Thewlis) at a Quaker hospice. There he meets and falls in love with one of the mental patients, Katherine (Meg Ryan). When she becomes pregnant, the two move to London just as that city is being devastated by the plague. It is then that Merivel redeems himself as a man and doctor. RESTORATION's 15 minutes of decent acting isn't enough to overcome two hours of tiresome, boring nonsense.

Although RESTORATION has almost no offensive language, Merivel's sexual flings quite make up for that. The sex scenes are graphic and frequent, with full frontal female breast nudity. After Merivel marries Celia, he runs naked through the palace with only a feather attached to his front while all the guests cheer. In addition, each sexual encounter finds Merivel with a different woman, and once with two in the same bed. Another time, the king orders Merivel to leave the bed with Celia so he may have her. This is an account of an age with no boundaries or morals. However, the Puritans pray for Merivel as he sneaks around being intimate with Katherine. Graphic scenes of plague victims' bodies piled up, surgery performed without anesthesia and other graphic medical procedures are disturbing. Perhaps Merivel's transformation from an amoral young man into a selfless, caring physician is the real message of RESTORATION; however, a better story could have been told without endless titillating, graphic sexual activity.

Preview Reviewer: Sherry Oswald
Miramax Films, 18 E. 48th St., NY, NY 10017

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Few (2) times - Mild 1, Moderate 1

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: Exclamatory once

Violence: Once (city burns)

Sex: Many times (graphic with frontal female breast and rear male nudity)

Nudity: Many times (breast and rear nudity in sex scenes; near male frontal nudity once)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Many times references to genitals, prostitution, sexually-transmitted diseases)

Drugs: Many times (drinking wine and hard liquor)

Other: Sick dog, dead bodies piled up; medical treatments of draining blood, surgery without anesthesia, man's heart exposed

Running Time: Unknown
Intended Audience: Adults

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