The Life and Death of Peter Sellers

"Very Good"

The Life and Death of Peter Sellers Review


Discussion topic: Which of the following people can accurately be described as "comic geniuses"? Woody Allen. Adam Sandler. Groucho Marx. Gilda Radner.

You're unlikely to get consensus on such a phrase, except for one: Peter Sellers. Everybody knows he was a genius, right?

Sellers was in fact an immensely successful movie star, but his elusive adaptability made him truly great. He achieved box office viability in the United States with the broadest possible physical comedy (the Pink Panther series), but also garnered a powerful artistic legacy from his star turns in seriocomic masterpieces (Dr. Strangelove and Being There). Sellers differentiator was that, unlike, say, Allen or Sandler, he was a uniquely talented actor. But he was also apparently plenty of other things to the people around him, none of which garnered acclaim.

In The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, based on Roger Lewis' biography of the man, director Stephen Hopkins and star Geoffrey Rush take on the challenge of creating an emotionally engaging biopic of man who was, of his own admission, an empty vessel. Indeed, this Sellers is so obsessed with his own vacant self, so star struck, that he can only relate to other humans by using and discarding them.

Rush's Sellers lies to his wives, emotionally savages his children, deludes himself about his relationships with co-stars and partners, and basically acts like a spoiled jackass in his push for fame and fortune. Egged on by his coddling and Machiavellian mother (Margolyes), Sellers botches stardom badly, leaving a polluted wake of disgust and loathing. But no one loathes Sellers quite like himself, and his famous method acting only enabled him to avoid himself for a few weeks of filming.

In an unusual dramatic twist, Rush performs monologues as other characters in Sellers' life in order to illustrate the extremity of the man's ego. Overall, however, Hopkins maintains an air of ambiguity about Sellers' psyche, which occasionally reduces the film to emotional snuff, nothing more than a parade of unabated personal destruction. Sellers' borderline humanity created a tortuously unhappy life, and the gloominess of this cinematic version contrasts jarringly with the vibrancy of Sellers' work.

The Life and Death of Peter Sellers is worth a viewing if only for Rush's plotting and violent outbursts, but be warned: Next time you catch a Pink Panther flick on cable, you might find yourself rooting for Cato.



The Life and Death of Peter Sellers

Facts and Figures

Run time: 122 mins

In Theaters: Friday 1st October 2004

Distributed by: Home Box Office

Production compaines: HBO Films, BBC Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Fresh: 16 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Peter Sellers, as Britt Ekland, as Anne Sellers, as Blake Edwards, as Stanley Kubrick, as Peg Sellers

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Office Christmas Party Movie Review

Office Christmas Party Movie Review

Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman reunite with The Switch directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck...

Snowden Movie Review

Snowden Movie Review

Here's another remarkable biopic from Oliver Stone, who has used all-star casts and intensely pointed...

The Birth of a Nation Movie Review

The Birth of a Nation Movie Review

This true story from 19th century America feels eerily relevant today in its depiction of...

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

An unusually realistic teen movie, this drama gets deep under the skin of its characters,...

Bleed for This Movie Review

Bleed for This Movie Review

This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of...

Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review

In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Advertisement
Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.