Bille August's drama is set in a Europe where everyone, whether they're Swiss, Portuguese or Spanish, speaks in the same slightly stilted English.
Jeremy Irons plays Raimund Gregorius, a repressed academic in Bern who saves a young woman from jumping off a bridge. He discovers in her possessions a poetic memoir by a little-known Portuguese writer called Amadeu do Prado, and becomes obsessed by Amadeu (played by Jack Huston) and his relationship to the woman.
In flashback, as Gregorius traipses round Lisbon meeting Amadeu's friends and associates, we see snapshots of the author's life as a poet, philosopher, doctor, lover and revolutionary.
Gregorius realises how petty his own life is by comparison with Amadeu's. In its lesser moments, the film feels like a European art-house adaptation of a Mills and Boon novel or a Saga holiday commercial, but it is beautifully shot and packed with cameos from big-name actors.Reuse content