Morality, Mortality & the Doctor of Imagination

The imagination is a wonderful and precious gift with which each one of us is bestowed. Terry Gilliam gets it. He understands how important is is for us to protect and nurture the delicate nature of our imaginations; for without it all creativity would be lost.

I wish I did more to encourage the ongoing development of all that is magical, surreal, beyond belief and ‘almost’ impossible. In the structure and rigidity of much of my world, I sometimes think that these more fanciful and fantastical ideals become lost between the cracks. Perhaps then, it is the way that the ethereal world of the imagination is able to overcome practical realities that makes it all the more special.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is many things – thoughtful, mad, fun, intricate, wonderful, odd and awe-inspiring. It is therefore quite sublime.

The film follows the story of Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) and his travelling ‘Imaginarium’ show where audience members are able to travel through a magical mirror to explore their imaginations. Of course nothing is as simple as it seems; there are some dark devilish deals in the good Doctor’s past which are threatening the future fate of his daughter, Valentina (Lily Cole). Thus begins a desperate (and often hilariously cheeky) race against time to save Valentina from a fate worse than death, but just who will be her saviour?

Will it be her father, the thousand-year-old Doctor Parnassus? Or will it be one of her theatre troupe compatriots Anton or Percy? Or will it be the mysterious newcomer Tony (played perfectly in turn by Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell)? … But what of the devil himself (Tom Waits) in all this? Surely he also has a part to play and a hand to play?   … and so the adventure between parallel worlds, life and death, good and evil, begins…

This is a story that sparkles. If you already enjoy the surreal experience that can be a Terry Gilliam film, you’ll like this movie. If you are a fan of beautifully delivered performances and precisely depicted characters, you’ll like this movie. If you appreciate whimsical, decadent and dream-like settings, you’ll like this movie. But perhaps it is for those who want to indulge in a visual treat that will unshackle your imagination and take the both of you on an amazing journey, who will like this movie most of all.


  1. Artful Kisser

    What a great review. Tom Waits as the devil? I will just have to see it now.
    .-= Artful Kisser´s last blog ..Picture This =-.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Artful Kisser – Yes!! You must see The Imaginarium! If not for the awesomely cool cast, for the great story!! 😀

  2. Gabrielle Bryden

    What a terrific review. You’ve sold me – just my kind of movie (my whole life is surreal) and it’s got Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law Tom Waits.
    .-= Gabrielle Bryden´s last blog ..The Ballade of Pompadour and Blanca =-.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Gabrielle – I’m so glad you enjoyed my mini ‘review’ of The Imaginarium. It’s a great movie, and by the sounds of it a film that is surreal will be ‘right up your alley’… 😉

      It has such a great male cast and is performed so well – definitely one to catch up with at some point!

  3. gracia

    On my long list it sits… I am looking forward to seeing it so.
    .-= gracia´s last blog ..Crowned. =-.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Gracia – That’s the trouble with finding more great films to watch isn’t it? Actually finding the time to finally catch up on that very long list of movies… I hope when you do get a chance to see The Imaginarium, that you enjoy it as much as I did! 8)

  4. Kimberley

    I don’t know if I can watch this one..
    I’m the type of movie watcher that when the film finishes; I’ll turn to the friend watching and go so… uh.. what did that bit mean? What do you think she meant by that? What did he whisper in her ear?! I need answers! I HAVE to know things. I loathe ambiguous endings (okay, loathe is a strong word, but I really don’t like not knowing for certain) so with a film such as what you describe above… I think it will be *entirely* over my head!
    .-= Kimberley´s last blog ..Consoling your Glee-less heart =-.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Kimberley – I guess now that I read your response to my ‘Imaginarium’ mini film review I can see how it is a movie which does answer questions, but may in fact raise more over the course of the entire film… still I’d love to know what you’d make of it!! The cast is AWESOME and the story so interesting!!

      You sound like a great movie watcher!! People that ask questions at the end are the best! I often think is is in asking what other people think about certain scenes or certain plot points, that we can better understand what happened, or become more able to frame our own opinions…

      I know what you mean about ambiguous endings though… sometimes you just NEED to know what happened with certainty. In reading your comments I’m reminded of ‘Lost in Translation’ – just what did he whisper in her ear at the end?? 😉

  5. Paul Squires

    I’m really looking forward to seeing this movie. My email is playing up.

    Looking forward to the zines too, they will be great holiday reading. Thanks, and a have fabulous Christmas.
    .-= Paul Squires´s last blog ..On becoming gloriously irrelevant again. =-.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Paul – No worries, your zines are winging their way to you!! 😀

      I hope your Christmas was wonderful and that your new year celebration is everything you’d hoped for and more!!

  6. helena / little mo

    I love Terry Gilliam films, they all have some quirky humour, I’ll never forget The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. It’s such a favourite classic.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Helena – I love Terry Gilliam films too, they’re always so interesting and never fail to get me thinking…and you’re right his sense of humour is the best!!

      Have a great start to the new year!! 😀

  7. Haiku Bones

    Sounds very intriguing! I’ll put it on my list.
    .-= Haiku Bones´s last blog ..Prompt 2: fleeting =-.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Haiku Bones – You should definitely put this one on your list… it’s a great watch for sure!!

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