"If I wasn't such a bad woman on the page, I couldn't be such a good woman in life."
- Madeleine (Kate Winslet) to Abbe Coulmier (Joaquin Phoenix)
Movieline's Hollywood Life - 11/01/2000
"...Funny, engrossing and unpredictable....Rush gives a towering portrayal of one of the most infamous men in history..."
New York Times - 11/22/2000
"...Geoffrey Rush [plays] Sade as a gleeful voluptuary unfettered by either morality [or] sentimentality....Mr. Kaufman revels in the chaos....Ms. Winslet's shrewdness as an actress has never been better displayed than it is here..."
Box Office - 11/01/2000
"...Rush relishes his role....Winslet captures both the beauty and the spirit of the character..."
Hollywood Reporter - 10/31/2000
"...[Rush] runs with it. It's a brave, take-no-prisoners performance....Winslet manages to instill nice complexity...as does Phoenix..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 12/15/2000
Premiere - 03/01/2004
"[T]he film raises strong questions about literary freedom and the suppression of ideas."
Uncut - 02/01/2004
"Kaufman rewards our seduction by sauce and wit with a final act of nightmare farce."
Based on the award-winning play by Doug Wright, this erotic and fantastical drama reconstructs the unknown fate of the Marquis de Sade, the writer and sexual deviant who was imprisoned in Charenton Asylum for the last 10 years of his life. QUILLS is a Gothic period piece from director Philip Kaufman that details the fall of the French Revolution and the subsequent imprisonment of the fallen aristocrat, a notorious free thinker who lived to write with an outstanding creative spirit and provocative sexual appetite. In the film, the Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush) befriends the liberal director of the asylum, Abbe Coulmier (Joaquin Phoenix), and both share affections with the asylum laundress, Madeleine (Kate Winslet). Madeleine is a nubile but virginal young woman profoundly attracted to the mental prowess of the clever and wickedly defiant inmate who willingly smuggles his banished texts out of the asylum. But, when Napoleon reads JUSTINE, one of Sade's anonymous texts, he sends in Dr. Royer-Collard (Michael Caine), a cruel and moralistic man, to "cure" the Marquis of his supposed madness. However, the battle between the moralistic doctor and Sade only provokes the prisoner's rebellious spirit, resulting in a horrifying tragedy. QUILLS is a deliriously beautiful film that captures the free spirit of the imagination and the powers of undaunted artistic expression. Geoffrey Rush is a marvel as the profane and ingenious writer, strutting and flourishing about his erotically charged cell with awe-inspiring passion and greatness.
The Marquis de Sade's written works remained banned in France until the mid-1960s.
The real Abbe Coulmier was a four-foot-tall hunchback.
The Marquis de Sade was the originator of the term "sadist": one who receives sexual satisfaction from the infliction of pain on others.
The Marquis de Sade died in the Charenton Asylum in 1814.
Michael Caine told the New York Daily News in January 2001, "It looks serious onscreen, but the more serious the subject, the more funny it is on the set. When things are too bizarre to contemplate as a human being, you have to deal with it with a sense of humor."
The National Board of Review named QUILLS the best film of 2000.
The Broadcast Film Critics Association nominated QUILLS for Best Picture.
Peter Clinton of cnn.com named QUILLS one of the 10 best films of 2000.
Geoffrey Rush received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture--Drama.
The Florida Film Critics Circle and the Las Vegas Film Critics Society named Geoffrey Rush Best Actor for his stellar performance in QUILLS.
Doug Wright was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay--Motion Picture.
The San Diego Film Critics Society's Best Body of Work award for 2000 went to Joaquin Phoenix (GLADIATOR, QUILLS, THE YARDS).
Joaquin Phoenix was named Best Supporting Actor by the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the National Board of Review for his work in GLADIATOR, QUILLS, and THE YARDS.