Writer: Deborah Moggach, Tom Stoppard (Screenplay) Deborah Moggach (Novel)
Starring: Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, Jack O’Connell, Holliday Grainger, Tom Hollander, Matthew Morrison, Christoph Waltz
Plot: An artist falls for a young married woman while he’s commissioned to paint her portrait during the Tulip mania of 17th century Amsterdam.
Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Fails to Blossom
Story: Tulip Fever starts in 1631 where Amsterdam is obsessed with tulips, we follow Sophia (Vikander) raised in an orphanage to womanhood where the rich Cornelis Sandvoort (Waltz) marries her to make sure he has an heir of his own. The story is told through the memories of Maria (Grainger) the maid of the household.
Cornelis wants to be remember and having trouble with having children he wants to have a painting of the two, he commissions upcoming artist Jan van Loos (DeHaan) for the work. When Sophia and Jan engage in a steamy affair their love blossoms and with the rest of Amsterdam becoming using their tulip obsession we see how the rich just get carried away with their outrageous bidding for the prized bulbs.
Thoughts on Tulip Fever
Characters – Sophie was raised in an orphanage to womanhood where she gets the chance to leave and marry one of the rich men of Amsterdam. She tries to give him a child, but they are struggling and it isn’t long before her heart belongs to another, an artist. Jan van Loos is the talented young artist commissioned to paint the Sandvoort’s, he soon strikes up a romance with Sophia as they both look to escape this world. Cornelis is the man Sophia marries, he is a kind man, brilliant businessman in the middle of the tulip obsessed Amsterdam. The characters show us just how obsessed the tulips can become desperate to make money from a bulb.
Performances – The film has wonderful performances from the whole cast, Alicia Vikander once again shows she is one if not the most talented actresses in the business. Dane DeHaan showed us just why he works better in these roles over a Valerian styled movie. Christoph Waltz continues he entry into a world of artists, where he can play the roles in period dramas. Even diving into the supporting cast, we have talent a plenty, with Jack O’Connell, Holliday Grainger and Judi Dench showing just why people always consider them people to watch.
Story – The story follows us into the world of Amsterdam where the people are obsessed with the tulips, the different colours, styles and patterns which could make a fortune. We have a secret romance which uses the tulip obsession to try and keep everything a secret, sadly by the end you will fee like we are watching two films which don’t quite add up to the levels you would like. The story about the tulips did grab my attention and I would have loved to have seen more focus on this, while the affair is something we have seen before and done better before.
Romance – The romantic side of the film comes from the secret affair Sophie is having, while also showing us the love Maria and Willem have through the good and bad moments.
Settings – The setting created takes us back to the 1600s Amsterdam, nothing feels out of place as we see the hustle and bustle of the busy drink filled streets.
Final Thoughts – This is a film that does struggle to balance the two stories and strangely enough, it is Maria’s story which seems like it should be the main story over the Sophia one. It does have powerful performance, but it doesn’t use their talents well enough.
Overall: Solid period drama, showing the tulip obsession.