Tulip Fever (7/10)
by Tony Medley
Runtime 107 minutes.
I read the classic
investing book, “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of
Crowds” (Charles Mackay, 1841) decades ago. It’s a fascinating book and
required reading for anybody who is seriously interested in investing.
Its first story is about the tulip mania that infected Holland in the 17th
century. It’s hard to believe but people paid huge amounts of money for
tulips! Many lost fortunes.
This movie written by
Tom Stoppard and directed Justin Chadwick is based in Holland when the
tulip mania was at a fever pitch. While it stars my favorite, Alicia
Vikander (who takes off her clothes and reveals a lot more about herself
than we’ve ever seen), and also Christoph Waltz, the plot is more akin
to the screwball comedies of the ‘30s and ‘40s.
The roles of Sophia (Vikander)
and her husband Cornelius Sandvoort (Waltz) could just as easily been
played by Lucille Ball or Irene Dunne and Dennis O’Keefe or Cary Grant,
respectively, had this exact same story been played for laughs and
directed by Alan Dwan or Garson Kanin.
But it’s not played
for laughs; it’s deadly serious as Sophia schemes with her servant,
Maria (Holliday Granger), to provide the much older Cornelius with the
child he so fervently desires. All the while she’s in a steamy
extra-marital affair with Jan Von Loos (Dane DeHaan), a painter retained
by Cornelius to do a portrait of him and Sophia. At the same time, Maria
has a hot romance herself with Willem (Jack O’Connell) which eventually
becomes the key to the entire movie.
The recreation of 17th
Century Holland is very well done, as are the costumes. The acting is
superb throughout. I thought it was a little light on substance, but
still entertaining. But what a great comedy it could have been!