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The Emperor's New Clothes

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Italy, United Kingdom, Germany · 2001
Rated PG · 1h 47m
Director Alan Taylor
Starring Ian Holm, Iben Hjejle, Tim McInnerny, Nigel Terry
Genre Comedy, Drama

This historical drama reimagines Napoleon's exile to St. Helena after his defeat at Waterloo. After years on the isle, Napoleon devises a scheme to escape: switch places with a commoner, the deckhand Lenormand. Things don't go exactly to plan, however, when Lenormand takes a liking to his new life of luxury, refusing to switch back.

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Boston Globe by

Not without its charms. But it never rises to its clever what-if concept.


Washington Post by Ann Hornaday

Engaging, witty and touching film, one that defies categories to become a romantic comedy, historical biopic and philosophical rumination, all in one.


Chicago Reader by Hank Sartin

Desperately wants to be whimsical and charming. But whimsy isn't easy to carry off, and director Alan Taylor, who has directed mostly television dramas, has a heavy hand -- scenes meant to be comical are destroyed by leaden pacing and a puzzling mix of tones.


ReelViews by James Berardinelli

Taylor's approach to this material -- mixing occasional humor with undemanding drama -- works well enough that we don't care about the logical inconsistencies and plot holes. To that end, The Emperor's New Clothes ends up as a pleasant diversion.

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