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|Laufzeit:||Ca. 105 Min|
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Long time Sophia (Alicia Vikander) lived as an orphan in a monastery. But now she calls the stately manor house of the spice dealer Cornelis Sandvoort (Christoph Waltz) in Amsterdam her home. The wedding with the older man was not a marriage of love. For Sophia it was the only way to a better life and for Cornelis the only way to fulfil her wish for an heir. But so far it has not worked out with the pregnancy. When Cornelis commissioned the young painter Jan van Loos (Dane DeHaan) to paint a portrait of him and his wife, Sophie quickly fell in love with the charismatic artist. The two begin a passionate affair, which does not remain undiscovered by Sophias maid Maria (Holliday Grainger). When a pregnancy threatens to throw her out, she confronts Sophie with a choice: If she doesn't want Maria Cornelis to talk about the affair, she has to get involved in a risky plan - a plan that could be exposed at any time…
For the adaptation of the novel "Tulip Fever" by Deborah Moggach, director Justin Chadwick had a script at his disposal that nobody less than the Oscar winner and acclaimed dramaturge Tom Stoppard ("Shakespeare in Love") wrote. Stoppard's very special talent to combine subtle humour and moving drama comes to the fore again. There are some really wonderful moments that live from clever wordplay, followed by really moving scenes full of romance and emotion. Unfortunately, Chadwick as a filmmaker isn't quite as virtuosic as Stoppard as an author, so that there are some more lengthy moments every now and then. But these are absorbed by the fascinating set design as well as by the great ensemble.
When, for example, Sophie hurries through Amsterdam on her way to Jan, along the canals where merchants advertise their goods and prostitutes look for the next suitor, one can see from the many small details how much effort was invested here to bring 17th century Amsterdam back to life. This creates a very special atmosphere in which even very conventional plot elements or overdrawn characters work surprisingly well. The two love stories that are at the centre of "Tulip Fever" - those between Sophie and Jan and those between Maria and the fishmonger Willem - are perfectly interwoven. They are emotional, but not too kitschy, which is why the viewer feels for the protagonists.
Justin Chadwick has staged a really nice historical drama, which isn't perfect, but is never dominated by overly dominant weaknesses. If you like big love dramas and generally love well equipped emotional cinema, you shouldn't miss this novel adaptation. Worth seeing
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