Review Roundup: Amazon Prime's KING LEAR, with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson

Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson reunite in their third collaboration and lead an all-star cast for Shakespeare's KING LEAR, adapted and directed by BAFTA and Olivier Award-winning director Richard Eyre.

The film for television is commissioned by the BBC and will be available to stream on Amazon Prime Video tomorrow, September 28.

Set in the fictional present, King Lear sees Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins as the eponymous ruler, presiding over a totalitarian military dictatorship in England. Academy Award and BAFTA Award winner Emma Thompson stars as his oldest daughter Goneril. Academy Award nominee and BAFTA Award winner Emily Watson(Theory Of Everything, Genius) stars as his middle daughter Regan, and rising star Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth, Marcella) as Cordelia, the youngest of Lear's children.

Let's see what the critics had to say...


Sam Wollaston, Guardian: Not only am I not Michael Billington, as I think I mentioned, I'm not even a Shakespearean scholar, you may be surprised to hear. I did do King Lear at school, a very long time ago. And that's enough: I'm in, focused, not wandering (well, not too much). The MMA and the helicopters and the fact that it's only two hours long all help, but if this Fool can get involved and engage, then anyone can. You don't even have to be an expert in 21st-century geopolitics (which I am). Have you got - or have you ever had, or are you perhaps - a father? Do you have a family? Of human beings? That's all you need, and it's better than The Apprentice. The wheel has come full circle.

Daniel Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter: It's expected that a theater audience will walk out of King Lear drained and exhausted. That doesn't happen in Eyre's zippy small-screen production. There's some visceral discomfort from Eyre's treatment of the play's brutality and consistent elation from watching the cast at work, but then it's easy to move on to other things - which doesn't feel exactly right, though some viewers will surely prefer it.

Amy Glynn, Paste: William Shakespeare's super-lighthearted little romp about the decline of an insane mythical king has been adapted many, many times. And it's true: I have an ongoing rant about adapt-o-philia with regard to certain properties and I recognize that one might be within one's rights to call me inconsistent on the subject. But look: Sometimes the material warrants it and sometimes the production more than justifies it with a very unique interpretation, a fascinating style, or pure high-voltage casting. So I was down for the BBC's new iteration of King Lear, coming Friday to Amazon Prime, based solely on the presence of Sir Anthony Hopkins in the title role. I hadn't even asked who else was in it.

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