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Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

Sophia Myles
James Franco
Rufus Sewell.
Kevin Reynolds.
Dean Georgaris.
Running Time
125 minutes

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Tristan + Isolde
James Franco and Sophie Myles play the star-crossed lovers

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Tristan (Franco) wins the hand of the Irish princess Isolde (Myles) for his lord and surrogate father, Marke (Sewell), the king of Cornwall. But neither Tristan nor Isolde can overcome their mutual attraction…

Tristan + Isolde

To the long list of storytellers this ancient tale of star-crossed lovers has inspired, you can now add star-crossed brothers Ridley and Tony Scott (who produce here), and director Kevin Reynolds (previously responsible for Costner in tights and gills). The story is often linked with Arthurian legend, and while the (muted) fanfare trumpeting the film’s arrival looks to Romeo + Juliet, the story is more closely entwined with the love shared by Lancelot and Guinevere.

Just as Arthur suffers his wife’s infidelity, so too Cornwall’s King Marke, here played with much poignancy by Rufus Sewell, as his bride (Sophia Myles) falls for English knight Tristan (James Franco). As with 2004’s feeble King Arthur, Reynolds eschews the magical to ground the story in a more literal medieval world; gone is the love potion of legend.

It is a noble aim, and Reynolds drenches his movie in earthy, muddy tones. Yet the missing elixir demands that Myles and Franco must muster a convincing passion with facial expressions and dialogue alone, and where Myles succeeds, her dilemma heart-wrenchingly clear, Franco fails, relying on the pouty woodenness that blighted his performance in the Spider-Man movies.

By removing the sorcery and operatic excess so synonymous with the story, the filmmakers conjure an affecting, pretty melodrama... with the emphasis more on mellow than drama.

Reviewed by Will Lawrence

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Tristan + Isolde
Empire Star Rating


How can you give a film like body of lies two stars and this gets three. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 19:28, 08 March 2011 | Report This Post

im giving this badboy a 4, simply because i thought it was gonna suck but i was very pleasently impressed. good stuff, and i thought Franco did a great job. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Al Swearengen at 10:47, 28 June 2008 | Report This Post


The story works if you take away the magic, but unfortunately the cast don't. Sophia Myles and Rufus Sewell are quite capable, but James Franco is on poor form. What is done well is the atmosphere and look of medieval Cornwall. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Duffski at 16:29, 06 December 2007 | Report This Post

For Another Generation

The plot of this movie is as large as the love Tristan and Isolde share together. Tristan (played by James Franco) a young man raised in England is forsaken for dead put on a ceremonial boat and pushed out to see. An Irish princess, named Isolde (played by Sophia Myles), finds him, and although their two countries were warring, nurses him back to health-but while falling madly in love with him-while he is under the false impression that her name is Bronia. After returning to England, Tri... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Grant Melvin at 00:19, 11 May 2007 | Report This Post

Tristan and Isolde- Film Review

Tristan and Isolde is a romantic film directed by Kevin Reynolds which is set in the dark ages. It is about two people who fall in love but cannot be together because duty comes between them. Tristan, played by James Franco, is a Cornish Knight who was fostered by King Mark(Rufus Seewell), the Cornish King, when his parents were killed when the Irish made a surprise attack. Tristan and Isolde, played by Sophia Myles, meet when Isolde finds Tristan on the shores of Ireland. She heals him and th... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by juliaricht at 13:20, 10 May 2007 | Report This Post

Tristan and Isolde

Tristan and Isolde is a romantic film directed by Kevin Reynolds which is set in the dark ages. It is about two people who fall in love but cannot be together because duty comes between them. I didn't really enjoy this movie because it doesn't stick to the original version. It is more of a hollywood film. I think perhaps this film would get a wider audience if it included King Arthur sometime in it, it was all just they meet and have an affair! That was really no point. I would give it no... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by juliaricht at 12:43, 10 May 2007 | Report This Post

This film was quite of a love triangle between Tristan( James Franco ), Isolde, Princess of Ireland( Sophia Myles ) and King Marc( Rufus Sewell ). This love is complicating and risking, sometimes stealing the idea from "King Arthur". There were also many disgusting things happening in this film which I personally think is not suitable for children. This 20th Century Fox and Scott Free Productions film are mostly saying about the betrayal of trust, strenght of love and the will of deter... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Kimy at 14:20, 09 May 2007 | Report This Post

Tristan and Isolde

There is a definite feeling of Hollywood coming to Ireland for Tristan and Isolde, a tale which is directed by Kevin Reynolds along with the 20th Century fox and the Scott Free production. Reynolds tried to make this film as excitable as possible and ended up as not too bad for a job. It is set in the dark ages when there are no written records but the legend of Tristan started. Tristan (James Franco), a heroic noble knight, brought up by his Uncle Lord Mark (Rufus Sewell) who treated him as ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tiffanyng11 at 10:58, 09 May 2007 | Report This Post

Tristran and Isolde

The plot of the film is quite complicated as there are many people involved and they all have important parts. The setting is very realistic: I feel that Kevin Reynolds (director) must have put a lot of effort into the making of this film. The special effects are brilliant and the costumes extremely authentic. It really brings out a clear picture of the dark ages and the possible stories that took place back then. Tristran's life is a sad and depressing tale of how a young boy lost both his pa... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Lizzie Clark at 08:42, 09 May 2007 | Report This Post

Id dont like this film very much because it steals the plot from king Arthiur and Romeo and Juliet ... More

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Posted by peterheneghan at 08:41, 09 May 2007 | Report This Post

Tristan and Isolde

This movie was as adverage as ony other movie from the dark ages. Tristan and Isolde was set in Ierland and England and was directed by Kevin Reynolds with the risky Scott Free Productions and 20th Century Fox. In my opinion, the whole thing was very predictable and definently not even as close as good as the origional King Arthur book. James Franco and Sophia Myles play the two main roles as Tristan and Isolde.Though the two fall in love long before, they betray King Mark and their relationsh... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Kelsey7185 at 08:37, 09 May 2007 | Report This Post

by the way i meant BAD but not that TERRIBLE ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jnat at 20:54, 11 June 2006 | Report This Post

i think that franco was terrible but not THAT bad, especially for his first time in these shoes. myles was emotional and good. after reading the empire 3 star review i didnt think it would be that good, but my girlfriend persuaded me to go and i ended up giving her tissues at the end, but i did like it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jnat at 20:52, 11 June 2006 | Report This Post

A travesty and a real missed oppurtunity

The story of Tristan and Isolde,although little known,would make a great film. However,this terrible adaptation certainly isn't it. By concentrating on only part of the story,there is no sense of an epic love which refuses to die,and almost everything else is changed to the point that one wonders why they called the film Tristan and Isolde. Of course one expects some changes,but here so many potential great scenes have been replaced by far inferior new ones. Even if you don't know the tale,th... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 21:26, 10 May 2006 | Report This Post

RE: Tristan + Isolde

Having watched this yesterday for the first time and having the time to ponder on it analytically, romantically and girlishly, I do have to say I enjoyed this film for none of those reasons. The story was well plotted, although it's highly unoriginal without a shadow of a doubt and the story begins with the word 'Doom' written across the lovers foreheads. It's what most people love though - doomed romances between two pretty people.   As a result, I was expecting a few midnight liason... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jessica_ca_ca_ca at 09:44, 02 May 2006 | Report This Post

Tristan + Isolde

My expectations of this film was very low as Empire marked this with three stars and with the conversations we have been having on line, I assumed it would be a rather boring and bland film. Having said all the above I never miss a film and I always see a film to make my own mind up. Just aswell in this case... I am a sucker for romance and although this is just another Romeo and Juliet story, I found it to be enjoyable and exciting to watch. I felt this story had a real balance of love an... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Stanley Kubrick at 23:39, 01 May 2006 | Report This Post

RE: Tristan + Isolde

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that as a man, I hate ‘Chick Flicks’. The contrived meetings, the annoying ‘will they/won’t they’ escapades and the feeling of your wallet being ten pounds lighter after you’d forked out for tickets hoping that you would get some action from your date later on…..   Herein lies the genius of Tristan + Isolde. Producers Ridley and Tony Scott as well as director Kevin Reynolds (Prince of Thieves) have realised that if a man is being dragged to see such a... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Timon at 09:23, 28 April 2006 | Report This Post


Empire User Rating

Posted by quizkid at 16:14, 26 April 2006 | Report This Post

Tristan and Juliet.

of course as a film manic i watched this film. And i found it all to Romeo and Juliet style. It's a very poor film with the exct same story. Different characters and a very rubbish ending. In fact the whole film is rubbish. What was Reynolds thinking directing this? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by GavinD at 15:04, 21 April 2006 | Report This Post

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