For the longest time, I couldn’t force myself to watch Quills, expecting it to be too intricate and attention-demanding. Oh boy, how I was wrong. This is a beautifully directed movie starring phenomenal Geoffrey Rush as The Marquis de Sade. He’s a very creative writer obsessed with sexual intercourse, love, pain, and other interesting things that make life worth living. Very well written, it’s based on an award-winning play of the same name. With an ensemble cast, it’s an approachable period movie that might ignite the spark of curiosity in you. A spark, if I may be so bold, that might end up changing your life.
First of all, this is one of those movies made with enormous dedication, passion and attention to detail. Even the actors playing the inhabitants of the asylum went to a real psychiatrist to diagnose them with their respective illnesses. It is like reading poetry this movie, very perverse poetry which lets us know that what we deem perverted and sick has been with us since the beginning of humankind and is an integral part of our species. But I digress, lets get back to this masterpiece. Realistic sets and props take us back through time and making sure that this movie gets a perfect ten.
This is a story about Marquis de Sade, a French aristocrat, revolutionary politician, philosopher, and writer, perhaps best known for his erotic and almost perverse stories promoting complete and unrestrained sexual freedom. Of course one of the organizations that found this offensive was the catholic church (of all people), that he particularly hated. Most of his life he spent in insane asylums and we find him in one of them as this movie begins.
Incarcerated, but only physically, Marquis is mentally free to explore the wild and exotic world of the written word with his quills. A young maid is helping him deliver his work from the asylum to the masses, smuggling it in dirty sheets. But soon, their arrangement will be interrupted as the new doctor arrives to try to cage and restrain Marquis and will he succeed is up to you to find out…
Incredibly current and with a message that needs to be heard in every corner of the world, Quills is one of those movies that you’ll end up recommending to your friends. And not just to come off as that smart, cultured and sexually awakened person but also as a service to a better world we’re all striving towards. A world that’s without censorship, taboos, denial of diversity and many other things.
I know it sounds strange but the only other movie I can think of recommending you check out after this one is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The tribal system of values has been with us since the beginning, deforming us into predetermined roles and thus generated so much sorrow, pain and hardship. And it’s still doing that, so many centuries after Marquis’s death. Refuse. Resist. And watch this movie. Enjoy.
Director: Philip Kaufman
Writer: Doug Wrigh
Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Caine, Patrick Malahide, Billie Whitelaw, Stephen Moyer, Danny Babington
Fun Facts: Geoffrey Rush directed the play that the asylum residents put on.