The Lion in Winter
At Christmas time in 1183, Henry II of England begins the process of deciding which of his three sons will inherit the throne, and become the next King of England. The plot twists and turns with a great amount of deceit, as his three sons: Richard, Geoffrey and John, along with Henry’s imprisoned ex-wife and his mistress all play their various roles in this interesting story.
Deceit, deception and manipulation have been part of the human nature/psyche for thousands of years. This was driven home once again to me, as I watched this Showtime version of the play originally written by Andrei Koncholovsky. Glenn Close is remarkable in her portrayal of the strong-willed Queen Eleanor, while being imprisoned by her husband for trying to take over his empire. Their three sons,Richard Geoffrey and John are all vying to become the next king. The story opens at Christmas time, in 1183 AD, with Henry II declaring he’s having “Christmas Court”. Eleanor is summoned from her tower prison, as she arrives with regal majesty, by boat. Eleanor greets her sons with sharp witicisms that cut their egos. King Phillip II of France arrives to celebrate Christmas with the royal family, as well as his sister, Alais the king’s mistress. King Phillip’s focus is on the lands of Vexen, which are part of his sister’s dowry. He wants these lands returned to France, if John doesn’t marry his sister. Oh, the twists and turns are good viewing, as these self-absorbed royals attempt to outwit the king. It’s too bad there is one scene that isn’t acceptable by Dove Foundation’s standards. Not recommended.