The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Oscar Nominee

Genre:  Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Running Time:  122 min.
Release Date: December 25, 2009
DVD: May 4, 2010

Current rating: Rating: 3.63
based on 122 votes and 27 reviews
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Cast: Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer, Verne Troyer, Andrew Garfield, Lily Cole, Tom Waits, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, Jude Law


The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a fantastical morality tale, set in the present day. It tells the story of Dr. Parnassus and his extraordinary 'Imaginarium', a travelling show where members of the audience get an irresistible opportunity to choose between light and joy or darkness and gloom.

Blessed with the extraordinary gift of guiding the imaginations of others, Dr. Parnassus is cursed with a dark secret. Long ago he made a bet with the devil, Mr. Nick, in which he won immortality. Many centuries later, on meeting his one true love, Dr. Parnassus made another deal with the devil, trading his immortality for youth, on condition that when his first-born reached its 16th birthday he or she would become the property of Mr. Nick. Valentina is now rapidly approaching this 'coming of age' milestone and Dr. Parnassus is desperate to protect her from her impending fate.

Mr. Nick arrives to collect but, always keen to make a bet, renegotiates the wager. Now the winner of Valentina will be determined by whoever seduces the first five souls. Enlisting a series of wild, comical and compelling characters in his journey, Dr. Parnassus promises his daughter's hand in marriage to the man that helps him win. In this captivating, explosive and wonderfully imaginative race against time, Dr. Parnassus must fight to save his daughter in a never-ending landscape of surreal obstacles—and undo the mistakes of his past once and for all.

  Canadian Connection: Partly filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Studio: Entertainment One
Producer(s): Samuel Hadida, William Vince, Amy Gilliam
Screenplay: Terry Gilliam, Charles McKeown
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  • 4 stars "It must be really strange to live inside Terry Gilliam's head. But watching this film is probably the closest anyone else could ever come to being there. There is much of this film that is a little bit less-then-engaging, but the dreamscapes that Gilliam paints in the world beyond the mirror more than make up for the drab and ho-hum real world scenes. I am such a sucker for mental subjectivity on film, and I absolutely loved seeing how the imaginarium manifests itself differently according to the person whose fantasy it is. Within the world of the story, it makes perfect sense to have the Tony character played by different actors when he's on the other side of the mirror, and in a film this"
  • 1 star "I consider myself a real movie buff and very open minded about different types of movies. This movie, however, didn't keep me interested in the least. In fact, I turned it off about half way through and never finished watching it."
  • 3 stars "Well now, besides being completely stunning visually this movie wasnt really all that great for me. I mean sure like I said, the visuals and overall look was magnificent, but the story itself was just somewhat unengaging and slightly odd at times. It was kind of long and seemed to drag on a bit. It was alright and I'm glad I saw it, but it's not something I'll be talking about for much longer. What did this movie teach me? I love Andrew Garfield's accent!!"