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Goya's Ghosts
Goya's Ghosts
Actors: Javier Bardem, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgrd, Randy Quaid, Jos Luis Gmez
Director: Milos Forman
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
R     2008     1hr 53min

Academy Award« nominees Natalie Portman and Javier Bardem star in two-time Academy Award« winning director Milos Forman's thrilling new romantic drama! Goya's Ghosts is a sweeping historical epic, told through the eyes of ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Javier Bardem, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgrd, Randy Quaid, Jos Luis Gmez
Director: Milos Forman
Creators: Milos Forman, Jean-Claude Carrire
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 02/26/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 53min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Member Movie Reviews

Richard W. (rewfilmmaker) from NAPLES, FL
Reviewed on 2/14/2013...
If you like movies that treat historical themes you'll like this. It reminded me of Amistad, The Other Bolynn Girl, Vanity Fair. Bardem is great as a human chameleon; The story is told from Goya's point of view as he navigates his way through the perils of Spain during the Inquisition. Portman is the artist's muse. Randy Quaid seemed miscast but overall an excellent movie. Highly recommended.
Maria D. from WHISPER PNES, NC
Reviewed on 11/17/2009...
This is a very powerful story. Portman, Bardem and Skarsgard were flawless. This is the best role I've seen Portman in.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

KerrLines | Baltimore,MD | 07/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Milos Forman and Saul Zaentz, who brought us AMADEUS in 1983 have teamed up again to take on another historical artist-type , Francisco de Goya, in a most unusual period drama that is beautifully executed but may leave you scratching your head and wanting more information (especially how to interpret the film!).All of information is there,but if you are not one to seek it you may not enjoy this masterpiece.

The title suggests that the purpose of the film is to present the images that haunted the Royal Painter into producing his macabre aqua-tinted etchings called "The Caprichos" in the year 1792.We are shown these etchings in full during the opening titles. They are disturbing scenes of the most extreme torture with decapitations and disemboweled figures with twisted faces writhing in agony.What Goya etches is of the most horrific things imaginable to the human mind! In fact, these "Caprichos" were subtitled "The sleep of reason produces monsters". IF YOU DON'T GET THIS, THEN THE POINT OF THE WHOLE FILM WILL BE LOST!!!

The film then proceeds to spill out the events and the players that will form the basis of these horrible lithographs. The opening scene shows us the heads of the Roman Catholic Church nervously pondering Goya's etchings. This is the time of The Spanish Inquisition.The Church rules (even the King and Queen!)Heretics are "put to the question".They are tortured, burned and put to death."We cannot have the world perceiving us thus" remarks one of the Church Fathers.

Forman then introduces us to the three main players in this piece.Inez (Natalie Portman) who has become the "muse" for Goya's works. NOTE: Goya painted EXACT likenesses as he saw them.Inez' image is striking.Secondly, Father Lorenzo (Javier Bardem in a welcomed English speaking role) who has asked the Church to step up the "questioning" practices of The Inquisition. Lastly, Goya (Stellan Skarsgard) who as Painter to the Royal Court, has observed and painted them both.Lorenzo's portrait is austere and forebodingly ruthless and dark. Inez' portrait is pure beauty and innocence.This then sets up the "ghosts" that Goya will begin to etch over the next year as The Inquisition is stepped up and both Inez and Lorenzo become victims of the whole terrible scene. Goya goes deaf and, by some accounts, mad in the same year 1792 that he prints "The Caprichos" etchings.

Fifteen years forward and we now find these same three characters in different places. Inez has been in the Inquisitor's prison all this time; Lorenzo is a wanted fugitive of The Church ;and Goya is completely deaf and finds himself embroiled in the mystery of his two famous subjects for his paintings.France has now conquered Spain and has become a puppet state of Napoleon.The Church is still trying to wield influence. These three, Inez,Lorenzo and Goya are again thrown together to complete what is left of their lives in an Age where "Reason" has really lead to uncontrollable madness. What happens is startling and heartbreaking to all parties.

The end film credits wisely show the remaining paintings and etchings that Goya produced in his lifetime ending with the ultimate ghost, his own self-portrait.

Goya's paintings, themselves, are the "stars" in this film. The actors are but the "material" or the "influence" that inspires Goya's mad artistry.The whole point of this film is to show the actual events that inspired an artist to paint and etch what he did. The Church of the time was concerned,and rightfully so. "Reason had gone to sleep.....and it produced MONSTERS."

I have viewed this film now three times with each time having a deeper a richer experience and appreciation for the incredible piece of art that it is."
One of the greatest films of all time. Criminally underrated
Lennon Aldort | Orcas Island, WA USA | 02/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In 1975 Milos Forman made One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, winner of 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. In 1984 he brought us Amadeus, winner of 8 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. Now, 23 years later, he brings us Goya's Ghosts, a brand new epic masterpiece on par with his previous critically acclaimed Academy Award winners.

The only difference is, Goya's Ghosts not only didn't get a single Oscar nomination, but it was slammed and hated by most critics. I'll make this part of my review short and simply say that this film must be so brilliant that it went right over the critics heads. The script is complicated, and the meaning of the title has been misinterpreted by almost everyone i've talked to about it.

Now, for the film itself. Perfection. Absolute perfection. Do not believe any of the negative reviews from the critics. This film is a masterpiece in every way. Music, acting, cinematography, script, everything. It's a breathtaking period drama that grips you from the first frame to the last and leaves you barely able to wrap your mind around just how perfect and brilliant it was. This is not a film to miss. It has taken the spot of #3 in my top 10 films of all time, #2 and #1 being One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus. At the request of the first person who commented on my review, I've edited my review here to say that Milos Forman could testify to the fact that i'm not related to him or to anyone involved in the creation or publicity of any of his films.

I'm not going to go into any plot details about the film. I'll simply say once more that it is possibly the greatest artistic achievement ever executed in the world of cinema. Buy the DVD when it's released. You won't regret it. Thank you Milos Forman!"
Goya's Ghosts - One of the most underrated films of recent m
Peacenik | 09/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It seems that I had been waiting a long time to see Goya's Ghosts. I first heard about the film sometime in 2005. And I remember when they were filming it in Madrid. The subject matter was of great interest to me. It was being directed by Milos Forman and the screenplay was co-written by Forman and Jean Claude Carriere. And it starred Javier Bardem, Natalie Portman and Stellan Skarsgard. What could be better?

But the film had trouble finding a US distributor. In the meantime, it was released around Europe to dismal reviews. Earlier this year the film was picked up by Samuel Goldwyn Films and it was released here in July to the same type of reviews. But guess what? I saw the film when it was released and I thought that it was terrific.

The first part of the film takes place in 1792. The Inquisition is being reinstated. It is spearheaded by a fanatic monk named Lorenzo (Bardem). Lorenzo talks out of both sides of his mouth. He is having his portrait painted by the well known artist Francisco Goya (Skarsgard) but when he sees that the Church doesn't approve of Goya's work he makes the suggestion that Spain go back to its old, repressive ways.

A young woman named Ines (Portman), who is one of Goya's models, is accused of heresy because she doesn't want to eat pork. She is tortured into a false confession and left in the dungeons to rot. Goya asks for Lorenzo's help and Lorenzo visits her. Lorenzo and Ines pray together but he also rapes her. And Lorenzo is invited to the home of Ines' parents. He is put to the "question" by Ines' father Tomas (Jose Luis Gomez) and fails. He is eventually driven out of Spain.

We fast forward to fifteen years later. There is chaos on the streets of Madrid. The French Revolution has "liberated" Spain and the Inquisition is null and void. Ines is let out prison and the only one she has left is Goya (who is now deaf). She had a child while in prison and wants to find her. Lorenzo returns to Spain with his wife and children. He is now a proponent of the French Revolution and condemns the Church. And that is all of the plot I will tell you.

Goya's Ghosts is a fascinating film. It contains many themes that still resonate today. Torture, a foreign army occupying a country and hypocrisy (in the name of religion or a cause) to name a few. It is a film of ideas. I did not take my eyes off of the screen for a minute. I only wished that Goya's Ghosts were a mini series because there would be more time to explore all of these complex ideas.

All of the acting is top notch. Bardem is brilliant as a man who completely transforms himself. I read some bad reviews of his acting in the Spanish press. I honestly don't know what they are talking about. I was wondering if Portman would be able to pull off here triple role as the young and old Ines as well as her daughter Alicia. She does. She also got some bad reviews and, again, I don't understand it. Skarsgard is fine as Goya, a man of reason. Other actors who are good are Randy Quaid as the King, Jose Luis Gomez as Ines' father and Michael Lonsdale as Father Gregorio. The cinematography by Javier Aguirresarobe is spectacular as is the production design by Patricia von Brandenstein and the costumes by Yvonne Blake.

Milos Forman has created a wonderful and important film that many people will not see because of the reviews. It is hard to fathom all of this when so many awful films don't get bashed in this way. Roger Ebert wrote an interesting review of Goya's Ghosts. He liked the film but he also makes an interesting observation about critics. Here is the link:

I didn't have much faith in film critics in the first place. But after this I have even less.

And one last thing - this past week I read a piece about Penelope Cruz. In it she was quoted as saying that Bardem is the best actor in the world. I will drink to that!"