Capsule review: "Quills"

by Eric Melin on December 25, 2001

in Print Reviews

I was jonesin’ hardcore to go see this movie the other day, and like most of you out there, I didn’t want to go alone. I don’t mind going alone, but I’d prefer to have somebody to talk about the film afterwards, especially if it’s good. My friend JoJo wanted to get some food, so I suggested seeing “Quills” after we eat.

“What’s it about?” he asked. Knowing full well it was set in 1794 in France and that he would want nothing to do with that, I replied, “Sex.” It was, after all, about the Marquis de Sade and his imprisonment in an insane asylum. His lewd writings were too much for Napoleon, apparently.

An unwitting JoJo was soon dragged off to a movie he knew even less about than he thought. After watching (but mainly hearing about) the Marquis’ perverted ways for two hours, it was obvious the editorial slant was defending his work as art. I got the idea real early on, but “Quills” managed to keep me fascinated for most of its running time.

Director Philip Kaufman does a very good job of making this adaption of a play look extremely cinematic, and all the performances are good. Geoffrey Rush was even nominated for Best Actor. So I dug it. JoJo eventually recovered from his initial shock when he saw the caption “1794” at the beginning of the film, and I think he liked it too.

Although he did say, “I’m never going to another movie with you again.” He added, “Now I’m gonna have to go see ‘Dude, Where’s My Car?’ just to get ‘Quills’ out of my system.”

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of and writes the Screen Stealers column for The Pitch. He’s President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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