The Worst Movies Ever: Orlando starring Tilda Swinton

worst-movies-everOrlando takes us all the way back to 1992…  I mean, that’s when it debuted – the film itself is actually a period piece that takes place over a time span of several centuries, but this is not the reason why it earns the award for The Worst Movie Ever in the Period Piece category.

Tilda Swinton, who I’m a big fan of, starred in the adaptation of Virgina Wolf’s novel, Orlando, directed by Sally Potter.  Before I saw it, I’d read that it was trippy, or tripping balls, or something like that, and if by that, you mean the movie makes little sense at all, then yes, this movie is trippy.  I guess that’s not a good tag line for the film.  Let’s try:

  1. Orlando:  It’s trippy – see it!
  2. Orlando:  Because a woman playing a man and making out with another woman is HOT!
  3. Orlando:  Plenty of sunshine, plenty of theme parks… why not plan your next vacation in the Sunshine State?!?

The movie takes place over some 400 years of the life of Orlando, played by Swinton, as a man.  It’s hard for me to articulate what happens next; she – I mean he – falls in love with this Russian women, and it doesn’t work out, so Swinton’s Orlando falls asleep for a long time.  Long enough for folks to get concerned, but he wakes up, and it’s all good, but his perspective on women has changed.  Super.

Next, he’s an ambassador to a middle eastern country… I forget which.  This entire part of the film is fairly pointless.  There’s a battle and after it’s over, Orlando falls asleep again – which doesn’t make any sense to me, as he didn’t fight in it.  But when he wakes up this time, he’s a women.


Why or how this happens, I don’t know.  Why he (or now she) keeps falling asleep and has now changed sexes, I don’t know, and the film doesn’t bother to explain.  So now that Orlando is a women, he’s she’s no longer entitled to her land and has been declared dead…  the movie was already surreal, but now,  its gotten unbearably… real.  So Orlando meets a man, falls in love, rejects his offer to run away with him to America, and falls asleep again.  We resume in the 20th century, where Orlando now has a daughter and is selling a novel…  what?

This movie sucks.   I don’t know what else to say.  How could a movie with a naked Tilda Swinton in it be so boring?!?  It doesn’t make sense, and the director makes no attempt to help us out.  Tilda Swinton does a nice job; hey, she’s a great actor, but the movie just sucks.  Oh, and her character constantly breaks the forth wall!  The movie is, for nearly every scene of all three acts, a period drama – not exactly Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, right?  You can’t break the fourth wall in a period piece, it doesn’t work!  Oh, and the movie bills itself as an Academy Award winner.  Check this out:  set decoration, costume design, make up… great.  To be fair, the set decorations, costume design and make up was all very well done.  Also, Swinton is quiet good in this movie – in fact, she’s so good that when she’s playing a man at the start of the movie, you don’t even think about it, you just accept it, so you don’t realize how good her performance as a man is until later in the movie when her character changes to a woman.  And yes, on a final positive note, the photography and set design is really quite lovely.

Again, this movie sucks.  It’s a period piece with no story.  On the other hand, if wacky, boring shiz is your bag, check it out.  Let me know if I’m way off.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on August 4, 2010, in movie review and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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