Set in 1942, Barrymore shines a dramatic spotlight on the acclaimed—and notorious— John Barrymore, capturing the famously combative star in the final months of his life as he struggles to prepare for a backer’s audition to stage a revival of his 1920 Broadway triumph in Richard III. Once among the most acclaimed stage actors of his generation, as well as a central member of Broadway and Hollywood’s most famous acting dynasty, Barrymore is now in the twilight of his career, no longer a leading box office draw and wrestling with the ravages of his life of excess. In equal parts lacerating wit and piercing despair, the faded icon revisits the highs and lows of his theatrical triumphs and remarkable life.
The film starring Christopher Plummer had its world premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. It was directed and adapted by writer-director Érik Canuel from the production for which Plummer won both a Tony™ Award and Drama Desk Award. John Plumpis, who toured with Plummer in the play after its Broadway run, recreates his role of Frank, the prompter. The film came shortly after Plummer received his multiple awards for Beginners in 2010 (Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA, and more).