Tulip Fever (DVD) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Drama, Romance
Director: Justin Chadwick
Distributor: eOne
Duration: 105 minutes

Tulip Fever (DVD) – Movie Review

Site Score
Good: Costumes, acting performances
Bad: The story could have been more cohesive
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(2 votes)
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Rating: 6.0/10 (2 votes cast)

When we say ‘Holland’, you’ll probably say ‘tulips’, and quite rightly so. Tulip Fever zooms in on the trade of tulip bulbs in the 17th century in Holland, be it only marginally. The real story of this film is actually a love story between a young married woman and a painter. It’s an impossible love, but one they will fight for nonetheless.

Tulip Fever

The film is set in the Netherlands in the 17th century. Sophia (Alicia Vikander) is an orphan who was brought up by nuns, together with her siblings, and other orphans the nuns took under their wings. Sophia, only seventeen years old, marries the much older Cornelis (Christoph Waltz), much against her will, but in return, her siblings get the chance to travel to New Amsterdam, to live with their aunt, so Sophia complies. Cornelis is mainly interested in Sophia for her youth and fertility, as all he wants is for her to produce an heir to inherit his name. Three years into the marriage, Sophia hasn’t given birth to a child yet, and Cornelis is starting to get desperate.

If he can’t show off his heir to the people, he must in any case be able to show off his beautiful wife, and thus Cornelis hires a painter to paint their portraits. When this painter, Jan van Loos (Dane DeHaan), walks into the room, he immediately falls in love with Sophia, and it’s clear that the attraction is mutual. The two start seeing each other, even though it’s difficult to fool Cornelis.


Meanwhile, Maria (Holliday Grainger), Sophia’s housemaid, is caught up in her own love story. She fell in love with Willem (Jack O’Connell), a fishmonger. Willem is speculating in the tulip market, so he can earn enough money to marry Maria. He is doing quite well, but when he mistakenly thinks that Maria is unfaithful to him, he drowns his sorrows and gets robbed of all his belongings. Left with nothing but the clothes on his body, he goes into the navy. What he doesn’t know is that at that time, Maria is pregnant with his child. Both Maria and Sophia are in a perilous situation, but Sophia comes up with a plan that will (hopefully) make both their lives bearable.

The beginning of the film actually has a lot in common with Shakespeare in Love, a film that is now nearly twenty years old, but still going strong. It’s not only the producer these films have in common, but also the stories are similar, and even some shots. The film certainly starts off promising, but once Maria and Sophia put their plan into action, you can immediately feel that something is going to go wrong, as the plan is absurd and Sophia is too much blinded by her love for Jan. Also, somewhere in the middle of all this deception and love, the tulip trade plays an important role in the film, but it never truly gets the attention it deserves. It is casually thrown in the mix, but without it really making the impression it should have done to make the film cohesive.

Tulip Fever3

The cast of this movie is one that already has already proven time and time before what they are worth. Judy Dench plays the abbess in this movie, and as usual, she plays a down to earth character in a wonderfully down to earth way. Alicia Vikander and Dane DeHaan play the two lovebirds, and they too can be commended for their performances. We can go on and on about the cast, so let’s just say it simply: they all absolutely proved their worth in this film.

There are no extras whatsoever on this DVD release, and while that’s nothing bad, it is something sad. Topics like the beautiful costumes, the sets, the adaptation of the book it is based on etc. would have been interesting to see, so we were a bit disappointed that there was nothing included.


Tulip Fever is a film set in the 1600s, with beautiful costumes and décor, and a story that seems quite promising at first. It does feel a bit incohesive though, as some elements such as the tulip trade could have gotten better attention. The acting performances make up for a lot, luckily, so while the story could have been told in a better way, we do think that it’s still worth the watch.


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Rating: 6.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Tulip Fever (DVD) - Movie Review, 6.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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