20th Century Fox Released 2000


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Movie Summary

Philip Kaufman
Quills a 2000 film adaptation of the Obie award-winning play written by Doug Wright. The film, also written by Doug Wright, follows the Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush) and his last year of his life living in an insane asylum in Charenton, France. He is overseen in the asylum by the mischievous and jealous Abbe du Coulmier (Joaquin Pheonix). But the Marquis is incapable of being completely contained. He continues to publish his writings from life through a laundress, Madeleine LeClerc (Kate Winslet), who smuggles the manuscripts out of the asylum. His book becomes an enormous success on the black market and Napoleon (Ron Cook) orders the author to be killed. Instead, his advisor recommends sending a doctor (Michael Caine) to the asylum to silence the Marquis. Madeleine is to be banned from the asylum for her role in helping the Marquis, but her now obsession with the beautiful and entrancing writings drives her to request one more book from the Marquis that will be conveyed to her through the other patients. Excited by the content, one inmate, breaks out of his cell and kills the gorgeous Madeleine. The Marquis is accused of her death and sentenced to a solitary confinement with no quills or ink. In her honor, the Marquis writes his last story in feces on the cell walls as he awaits his execution. The Abbe comes to him on his day of execution to offer him a crucifix to kiss. The Marquis swallows it and takes his own life. The film is an intense psycho-drama ultimately about the infatuation between two individuals and their incapacity to be together.moreless


Metacritic Score

  • 80

    The New York Times A.O. Scott

    Occasionally becomes pretentious and shrill -- sometimes Mr. Wright isn't aware that his material is so good that he doesn't need to comment on his characters.

  • 70

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    Lacks an edge of danger or excitement that might have brought the subject alive in more than a cerebral way.

  • 20

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    Soon becomes a sadistic experience in its own right. Experiencing this pretentious wallow -- overwritten, under-thought and overdone -- is a very sophisticated form of torture.

Michael Caine

Michael Caine

Dr. Royer-Collard

Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet

Madeleine 'Maddy' LeClerc

Geoffrey Rush

Geoffrey Rush

The Marquis de Sade

Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix

The Abbe du Coulmier

Patrick Malahide

Patrick Malahide


Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


More Info About This Movie


Sex & Relationships, Love & Romance, Historical, Social Issues, Dark Comedy