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In 17th Century Amsterdam, an orphaned girl Sophia (Alicia Vikander) is forcibly married to a rich and powerful merchant Cornelis Sandvoort (Christoph Waltz) - an unhappy "arrangement" that saves her from poverty. After her husband commissions a portrait, she begins a passionate affair with the painter Jan Van Loos (Dane DeHaan), a struggling young artist. Seeking to escape the merchant's ever-reaching grasp, the lovers risk everything and enter the frenzied tulip bulb market, with the hope that the right bulb will make a fortune and buy their freedom. Written by
Before you were born, Amsterdam was captivated by a flower: the tulip. They came from far away in the East and were so rare and beautiful that people lost their senses in wanting to own them. Rich and poor were spending and borrowing money to join the trade in bulbs, which were going up in price all the time. None more so than the rare striped tulips that were called breakers. A new breaker came from nowhere like an act of God, and it changed people's lives. A white ...
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'Tulip Fever' manages to turn a promising idea into a Dutch farce as its script heaps unnecessary complications onto a tale of marital infidelity in 17th century Amsterdam. The film opens with beautiful penniless Sophia being married off to a wealthy middle-aged merchant who desires a male heir. After three years have passed and no child has appeared, the merchant commissions a double portrait of himself and his young wife for posterity.
When Sophia unwisely falls for the debt-laden artist, everything seems nicely set up for an intense domestic drama, but director Chadwick drowns the narrative in a torrent of subplots. While Sophia cavorts with the artist in his garret, her maid has been dallying with a fishmonger in the scullery. Before too long, the lovers of both mistress and servant are speculating in Holland's tulip-mania bubble to improve their fortunes and romantic prospects. Meanwhile, the two women hatch an implausible plan to resolve their own dilemmas. As the scheming becomes increasingly absurd, the story falls apart and the actors lose faith in their characters. Long before the end, most of the audience will have joined them, as the amorous misadventures and financial intrigues transform the final act into crass melodrama.
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