Dictionary.com defines a "libertine" as:
1. One who acts without moral restraint; a dissolute person.
2. One who defies established religious precepts; a freethinker.
Both are apt descriptions of the Earl of Rochester, as played by Johnny Depp, in the 2006 movie The Libertine.
Knowing only this, I knew what to expect of the movie. I also read a little bit about the movie, so you could say I was doubly prepared.
The friends with whom I went to the movie were not.
All in all, it was a well done movie and was very thought provoking. The subject matter was, of course, hard, but Depp proved once again why he is considered a premiere actor. He takes hard roles and does not shrink from showing flaws.
As usual, I agree with Roger Ebert in this. The intellectual in me knows that it would be much cooler to agree with the edgy and cynical (now deceased) Gene Siskel, rather than the easy-going Ebert. Oh, well, I never manage to make the popular decisions. One of my architecture professors asked us to choose an author as a client for one of our projects. I think he preferred those who chose Kerouac or Kant rather than my Jane Austen. Too bad for him.
It was a good movie, though the subject matter is hard to watch. It brings up questions about why some people (genius and ordinary alike) choose or are compelled to self-destruction. It questions what is real love.
And if you have friends who want to go, make sure they know what it's about.