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  Before Romeo and Juliet, there was...

The 2006 film based on the legend of Tristan and Iseult. It stars James Franco and Sophia Myles as the eponymous lovers of the title; they fell in love after Tristan is left for dead and the Irish princess Isolde and her nurse tend to his wounds, causing the affection between Tristan and Isolde to grow, but things turn sour when Isolde (who is deeply in love with Tristan) learns she is instead to be betrothed to his uncle Marke. The film also attempts to be as realistic as possible for the setting, one example being that there is no mention of King Arthur, who usually is present, at least in the background, of most of the adaptations of the legend.


Contains examples of the following tropes: Edit

  • Adaptation Distillation: Definitely shorter than some of the interpretations.
  • All-Star Cast: To just mention it briefly, there is James Franco, Sophia Myles and Rufus Sewell as the main cast of intertwined lovers.
  • Annoying Arrows: Multiple characters take arrows in combat. At most, they take a few seconds to remove and the character continues on. Near the end, one character takes an arrow to the back, mid torso; he looks annoyed and charges into battle, arrow still sticking out of his back.
  • You Fail History Forever: So apparently, the Irish oppressed the English at some point in history.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Tristan dies during the epic battle at the end, though Isolde is left alive, mourning her love. Potentially, it could have a been a Downer Ending, since most adaptations of the story usually end with both the lovers dying together.
  • Meaningful Name: Counts for all the retellings: "Tristan" alludes to "triste" (French for "sad"), which foreshadows the Downer Ending of the love story.[1]
  • Love Triangle: Isolde loves Tristan, Marke is betrothed to Isolde for political reasons, Tristan loves Isolde.
  • Mortal Wound Reveal: To Tristan near the beginning of the film. His wound initially appears not that serious, but just as we're informed that the weapon was poisoned he collapses, apparently dead. Being the protagonist, he gets better, but his friends aren't Genre Savvy enough to know that.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Pretty much necessary.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Rufus Sewell's role as the king who marries Isolde. He is also Tristan's uncle.
    • Actually, in this version he's not Tristan's uncle, just a guy who saved his life. Melot is Marke's nephew for some reason.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Kind of a given, considering its foundation in the tragic legend.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Mentioned briefly at the end by Isolde, who is presumably pregnant with Tristan's child.
  • Together in Death: Averted, Isolde lives and speaks the last lines of the film - about Tristan.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Unable to be with Tristan, Isolde resorts to trysts with him that they kept secret from her husband, King Marke, who is also Tristan's uncle.

Notes

  1. This is not the true etymology of the name, which goes back to the Welsh "Drystan" (Latinized "Drustanus"). It was specifically adapted to sound like "triste", however.

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