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King Lear (2008)

TV-PG | | Drama | TV Movie 25 December 2008
Sir Ian McKellen gives a tour-de-force performance as Shakespeare's tragic monarch, in this special television adaptation of the Royal Shakespeare Company production of one of the playwright's most enduring and haunting works.

Director:

Trevor Nunn

Writer:

William Shakespeare (play)
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ian McKellen ... King Lear
William Gaunt ... Earl of Gloucester
Philip Winchester ... Edmund
Ben Meyjes Ben Meyjes ... Edgar
Frances Barber ... Goneril
Monica Dolan ... Regan
Romola Garai ... Cordelia
Sylvester McCoy ... Lear's Fool
Jonathan Hyde ... Earl of Kent
Guy Williams Guy Williams ... Duke of Cornwall
Julian Harries Julian Harries ... Duke of Albany
John Heffernan ... Oswald
Russell Byrne Russell Byrne ... First Gloucester Servant / Doctor
David Weston ... Gentleman
Peter Hinton Peter Hinton ... Duke of Burgundy / Captain
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Storyline

Sir Ian McKellen gives a tour-de-force performance as Shakespeare's tragic monarch, in this special television adaptation of the Royal Shakespeare Company production of one of the playwright's most enduring and haunting works.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

TV-PG
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 2008 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Król Lear See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir Ian McKellen and Sylvester McCoy appeared in The Hobbit trilogy, playing the wizards Gandalf and Radagast, respectively. See more »

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User Reviews

 
An excellent King Lear with a great cast
24 August 2012 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

King Lear is a play I do know reasonably well, I had to study it in English as part of the topic themes of love of various poems, plays and books. Though I am more familiar with other Shakespeare plays. This King Lear is excellent, slightly superior to Olivier's version which apart from the music was great. One here though may wish for sets that gave you a better idea of where the production was meant to be set. Although I didn't think the production values looked too bad I was rather confused to where it was supposed to be set.

Trevor Nunn's stage direction is very effective, it is lively in pace yet manages to give the play the right amount of poignancy and intensity it should. The picture and sound are crisp and clear. The dialogue as always with Shakespeare is brilliant, both poetic and haunting in King Lear and coming across as that here as well. The performances from a great cast are on the most part spot on. Ian McKellen is pitch-perfect as Lear. I do remember it did take some time when I was studying it to feel genuine sympathy throughout for the character(I do agree the way he is in the first act may put some people off, especially if you are not familiar with the play beforehand). McKellen however does make you feel sympathy for him, his quieter and perhaps more intimate moments are suitably gentle and moving, and the character's intensity is intense.

Romola Garai's Cordelia more than holds her own, I was genuinely moved by her also. I have also rarely seen a better played Fool than Sylvester McCoy, sometimes he is hilarious but at the same time, mainly because of the Fool's heartfelt sympathy to Lear, he does make the audience make us feel for him, his fall is very tragic and we do feel it. In contrast, there is a suitably evil Goneril from Frances Barber who also gives the character depth. As well as a fine performance from Ben Meyjes as Edgar, his madness is very convincing, he handles the many complexities of the character better than most and his aiding with Gloucester's fall proves to be really quite poignant.

Jonathan Hyde shows great loyalty as Kent. Phillip Winchester is not the most subtle of Edmunds, though in fairness trying to give subtlety to a psychopathic role is not easy, but you do clearly see his deviousness and for me this is an Edmund that truly gets under your skin. William Gaunt is fine as Gloucester, as mentioned his fall is movingly done on all counts. Overall, the cast do much to make this production of King Lear as successful as it turned out to be. 9/10 Bethany Cox


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