Year: 1995
Production Co: Avenue Pictures Productions
Director: Michael Hoffman
Writer: Rose Tremain/Rupert Walters
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Sam Neill, Meg Ryan, David Thewlis, Ian McKellen, Hugh Grant, Ian McDiarmid
A sumptuous and enjoyable spectacle centred around the middle ages equivalent of a slacker, doctor Robert Merivel (Downey Jr) who finds himself in favour with King Charles (Neill) midway through the brief period of enlightenment England observed in the arts, sciences and humanities before the outbreak of the Black Plague.

Merivel is taken into the King's court and introduced to a life of wealth and privilege he could only dream of as a lowly physician, but things turn when the King orders Merivel to marry his mistress so the Queen's suspicions are allayed. The only condition to hold on to his wealth and position is to not fall in love with her.

Of course, for a playboy like Merivel this proves impossible, and it isn't long before he loses everything and is cast into an asylum where in true love story irony, he'll learn about truth and love while living in squalor and surviving by his wits with the nutty inmate Katharine (Ryan).

Great design and a cute story make it a treat, with a little history thrown in for good measure.

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