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The Life and Death of Peter Sellers

1 rating: 3.0
Art House & International movie directed by Stephen Hopkins

Geoffrey Rush is in bravura form in his shape-shifting performance as one of the cinema's great chameleons: Peter Sellers. This higgledy-piggledy biopic races across the high and low points of Sellers's adult life, pretty much sticking to the standard … see full wiki

Tags: Movie
Director: Stephen Hopkins
1 review about The Life and Death of Peter Sellers

Who is Peter Sellers and Why is Acting Like That?

  • May 11, 2005
Paraphrasing a famous line serves as a summation to this excellent study of Peter Sellers, one of Hollywood's most popular and beloved comedians: for all the public masks there were many more private ones that until now never seemed so cogent.

Peter Sellers (a brilliant Geoffrey Rush who is such a fine actor that he doesn't try to impersonate Sellers, rather interpret him) was one strange man. His foibles in life are more interesting than the fascinating characters he created on film, characters that are still being imitated by such actors as Steve Martin, etc. He was a disturbed man, with a more than bizarre relationship with his mother (Miriam Margolyes), his directors Stanley Kubrick (Stanley Tucci) and Blake Edwards (John Lithgow) and abusive relationship with his wife Anne (the always superb Emily Watson) and his tryst with Britt Ekland (Charlize Theron).

At times in this rather cumbersome script the film loses focus with a too heavily weighted angst that besmirched Sellers life. His abominable behavior patterns and generally inappropriate responses to those who would make him a star, while expertly crafted by Geoffrey Rush into complete credibility, are not relieved by sufficient moments of comedy, moments that made this actor famous in the first place.

The acting is uniformly excellent, far better than the script would suggest, and the glamour of the 1960s excesses is well captured though degenerate to see again. But for all that, this is a well-done look at the life of a comedic genius whose screen presence was probably the only real thing about him. Grady Harp, May 05

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