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Goya's Ghosts

Goya's Ghosts

Director:Milos Forman
Cast:Javier Bardem, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard, Randy Quaid, Jose Luis Gomez, Michael Lonsdale
Release Date:2007
Genre:Film, Drama

At the Charles Theatre.

By Bret McCabe | Posted 9/12/2007

Typically rock-solid biopic director Milos Forman squeezes off a curiously lukewarm picture kinda/sorta about the titular Spanish painter in Goya’s Ghosts. Goya (Stellan Skarsgard) is an already established painter in Madrid when the movie starts, during a time when the Catholic Church feels the need to reimplement some of the more drastic measures of the Inquisition to restore Spain’s moral order. Brother Lorenzo (Javier Bardem) is one such priest who champions the return to “posing the question”—suspending accused heretics in the air by their arms, which are restrained behind their backs—and one such infidel is one of Goya’s models, Inés (Natalie Portman), the daughter of a local merchant. At the family’s behest, Lorenzo attempts to comfort the jailed Inés, but his perhaps less than chaste attentions—and his inability to convince her father that he has done everything he can for her—puts his own faith to the test, and one French Revolution later Lorenzo is a Rights of Man liberal extracting some revenge on the church. Goya himself is really a mere pretext for the exploration of political power; the problem is that neither a dissection of power nor a Goya biopic comes out of the combination, yielding but a gorgeously photographed historical drama covered in an only modestly depressing patina.

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