Rufus Sewell, Diana Rigg, Rupert Graves. This compelling presentation reincarnates the life story of Great Britain's King Charles II nicknamed The Merry Monarch." His 25-year reign paints him as a passionate monarch who loved the arts and was a frivolous gambler. Very likely, he was also a sex addict, whose multiple mistresses bore all of his children. 2003/color/3 hrs., 8 min/NR/widescreen.
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It's not always good to be king in this fascinating BBC/A&E historical drama, featuring a complex performance by Rufus Sewell as the exiled British monarch who returned to a volatile, post-Cromwell England in the 17th century. Pressed to forgive the enemies who killed his father, Charles II takes the throne and finds himself squeezed from all sides by vicious power brokers, his vengeful mother (Diana Rigg), a manipulative mistress (Helen McCrory), dubious advisers, a contrarian best friend (Rupert Graves), and his bewildered Portuguese wife (Shirley Henderson). Problems with the Plague and Charles's own, restless libido further complicate family and political dramas, but beneath the king's operatic tenure are visible strains of progressive government: Charles, after all, ushered in an early era of democracy in England. The Last King's sharp script never slows, but it's the cast's intense performances that bring royal intrigues to life. --Tom Keogh
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