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|Index||91 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The film is a story about manners--very, very, very proper and stuffy
British manners during the Edwardian era. As a result of convention,
Lucy (Carter) and George (Sands) are kept apart.
Partway through watching "A Room With a View", I realized that, believe it or not, the underlying theme is the same as you'll find in "Jane Eyre"....seriously. Both concern social conventions and morality versus happiness and romantic passion. In the case of Jane, her love (Mr. Rochester) was not technically able to marry her and so she ran off--and lived, for a time, with a man in training to be a missionary and his family. The missionary had no passion at all for Jane but proposed--a marriage of convenience and intellect. Should she choose this good man or live with a man already married (Rochester)--albeit, his marriage was clearly a fraud perpetrated on him. Likewise, in "A Room With a View", Helena Bonham Carter's character must choose between a more worldly (and rather non-religious) Julian Sands or the incredibly stodgy and respectable fiancé (Daniel Day-Lewis). Either a marriage of predictability and convention or a marriage with passion, and, perhaps, irrespectability are her apparent choices. Now I am NOT complaining that the themes are the same...after all, "Jane Eyre" is one of my very favorite books (and is MUCH better than the movie versions).
Some things to look for in this film--the gorgeous views of Florence, the lovely score and the funny (but very explicit) skinny-dipping scene. Clever and enjoyable...but also perhaps a bit slow due to its commentary about manners.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have never read A Room with a View, but it seems to me, from watching
the Movie that the major theme is the difference between the way things
"should" be, and the way things really are.
Visitors, on their first stay in Florence "should" have a room with a view. But they do not.
Florence "should" be a place of enlightenment, but it suddenly becomes a place of horrifying death.
There are shoulds and should nots all through the movie! The lovers on the cart, the interruption to the priest giving a lecture on Giotto, the kiss in the cornfield, the rowdy behaviour of Freddy, the indiscretion of Aunt Charlotte .... all these things contrast with the restrained and restraining world of boned corsets, chaperones and arranged marriages.
There are rules, rules for everything! But the rules are broken. The rules are broken firstly by an irrepressible and good-natured man who will not be bound by formality, but only by common sense, generosity of spirit and love for all around. It is the giving-up of the room-with-a-view that is the catalyst that sets in place a series of event that cause order to crumble! The hilarious scene of nude bathing in which the Vicar is caught naked by his parishioners, a son by his mother and a young man by the woman he adores is the moment when everything falls into total chaos. Nothing in their lives will ever be quite the same again.
This scene is one of the funniest, most joyous scenes that I know of in any movie.
Why can't Hollywood make movies like this? I first saw this on PBS several years ago and I bought the video which i must have watched a hundred times. I may need to buy the DVD. My only regret is that I didn't see this gem of a movie in the grand scale of a theater. I just fell in love with the scenery, the music and the actors, all perfectly cast. The funniest scene was the swimming in the pond. I still laugh out loud everytime I see that scene. Oh, would I love to be a Lucy Honeychurch with a George Emerson who adores me.
I'm pretty sure I've seen "A Room with a View" from beginning to end,
but I can't say with any certainty that I've done so sequentially. See,
my wife loves this movie, but every time she puts it in it lulls me
instantly to sleep. It's like an adult version of a "Mr. Rogers"
This Merchant/Ivory production is typically polished and oh-so-tasteful, but like all of their movies it feels like the cinematic equivalent of one of those museum dioramas. It's not very lively, even if it is painstakingly accurate in its period detail.
Maggie Smith and Denholm Elliott were awarded Oscar nominations, but the standout actors are Daniel Day-Lewis, playing a hopelessly uptight and ridiculous suitor, and Judi Dench, who plays an adventurous novelist who's far more exciting than any other character in the film.
In the 1980s Merchant-Ivory preserved the British film industry. That is to say, the embalmed it with a series of adaptations of which this is the least tedious. The cast read like a Who's Who of Brit acting but nothing actually happens at all. (rating: **)
The remarkable thing about the Merchant-Ivory productions (in fact a
solid triumvirate if we count the writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala) is that
they're generally less about plots than characters, and so real they
never seem to act according to a specific screenplay, but are rather
conditioned by the two main forces of the story: space and time.
Indeed, over the course of time, relationships are done and undone and the coldest heart can melt like Anthony Hopkins in "The Remains of the Day". "Howard's End" was much about an estate, symbolizing the rural roots of British aristocracy, before it surrendered to business-driven modernism. Generally set at crucial periods of British history, the Merchant-Ivory productions are about people who are the products of their age while a new one is coming, and they generally use their houses as a symbolic stronghold to resist the ineluctable changes.
And "A Room with a View", adapted from E.M Forster's novel of the same name, is the metaphor of the very point the story makes. Even the smallest room can open onto a large town, the sky, the infinite, like so many paths one can take from life, if he or she dares to get rid of the weight of past and conventions. A room can be made of a beds and austere furniture to welcome a young woman from a British hamlet, Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bohnam Carter) and her restraining chaperon Charlotte (Maggie Smith), but it can offer a panoramic view of one of the most romantic towns in the world: Florence.
And the first pages of this cinematic book open in Florence, in a small pension, where a group of vacationers meet. Miss Charlotte complains about the missing view in the room, to which, inviting during the following dinner a free-spirited man, Mr. Emerson (Delnhom Elliott) to proposes to switch their rooms. Emerson came with his son, and both belong to another class, up enough to afford a voyage to Italy, but whose philosophical views suggest that they embraced the turn-of-century, contrarily to the Victorian Charlotte, who refused the proposal, shocked by Emerson's lack of tact, while his reaction proves that he meant no disrespect.. She eventually accepts, convinced by other guests of the pension, Reverend Beebe (Simon Callow) and the old Allan sisters.
This benign episode foreshadows the coming conflicts between the old and new order in England circa 1910, to which space and time provide crucial elements. The film is set during the Edwardian period; a sort of in-between decade where British people could nonchalantly enjoy the achievements of the more prestigious Victorian era, like a historical calm before the storm of the Great War. And being a film of dazzling imagery, the sight of these British vacationers enjoying a picnic in a Tuscan setting, savoring tea and bathing under a sepia summer sun, and a cool summer breeze, is an eloquent illustration of the quiet optimism that prevailed during that period.
And this bourgeois idleness, combined with a natural setting, creates the perfect cocktail for a passionate romance, leading to the inevitable moment when the mysterious George Emerson, played by the handsome Julian Sands, gives a passionate kiss to an unchaperoned Lucy. She didn't see it coming, nor did she expect the kiss' everlasting effect, awakening the most passionate impulses. The kiss sweeps off all the conventions, the good manners that condemned Lucy to a life of rigidity, giving all its meaning to the setting in Florence, the most defining town of the Renaissance. Literally, George's kiss is Lucy's renaissance.
But this is only the first act and back home; the kiss is already history after Charlotte's intervention. And when during the next scene, we meet Cecil Vyse, Daniel Day-Lewis as Lucy's future husband, a living caricature of snobbish prig with his oiled hair, rigid stature and annoying pince-nez, we're puzzled but not surprised. The film doesn't embarrass with explanations and trusts us enough to connect between the events together. So, regarding the mysterious choice of Cecyl as a husband, I guess, we should get back to the 'room with a view' metaphor.
Indeed, with George, Lucy had 'a room with a view', with Cecyl, she would have thousands of rooms with no view at all. Breaking his eternally taciturn facade, George is given one opportunity to have a heart-talk with Lucy; he tells her that her marriage with Cecyl would turn her into an ornament, for the man would never be able to value her, or any woman for that matter. This is one of the outbursts of passion the film serves at the right moment to remind us that there is still a story after all, and a question: to which direction will Lucy's heart lean? And it's not just a choice between two men, but two orders, two states of mind, two ways of kissing.
Roger Ebert, in one of his most enthusiastic reviews, insisted on the conflict between heart and mind, passion and intellect. I wish he had a few words about space and time as either the restraining or catalyzing elements in our lives. It's restraining when you have characters with the privilege to enjoy some escapism in a beautiful Italian landscape, but are still tied with Victorian good manners, or catalyzing, when three men, including a priest, play like children in a lake, all naked. The swimming sequence is exhilarating, and the massive male nudity never bothers, a credit to the directing and the cast' performances.
Of course, as enchanting as it is, "A Room with a View" is less politically oriented than other Ivory-Merchant productions while there was more to say about socialism, feminism, weight of traditions, bourgeois insouciance, but the specific pretension of "A Room with a View" was to depict another slice of British life, from which two hearts would converge in a small point of the world, a room with a view on the infinite, on the future, on love.
in this case, important is the taste. clear, delicate, special. like spring air. because , portrait of a society, charming love story, full of drops of lovely humor, creation of an extraordinary cast, adaptation of lovely novel, it is a kind of sentimental jewel - small, hided, admirable. a film like a state of soul. or slice of holiday because each viewer is part of it. because the joy of performance, the Italian images, the crumbs of Victorian manner to understand reality, the roots of a special revolution, the masks and the bath scene, Maggy Smith in one of her adorable roles, all is part of a seductive circle. a film like an open window.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An 18 or so year old girl Lucy Honeychurch and her chaperon Charlotte a
middle aged spinster cousin go on a trip to Florence. There in a
pension they encounter Mr Emerson and his son George. Mr. Emerson
trades rooms with the women so that they might have rooms with views.
George falls in love with Lucy and steals a kiss from her. Her chaperon sees this happen and returns Lucy at once to England. By chance Mr. Emerson and George rent a cottage near the Honeychurch's house... by this time Lucy is engaged to someone else. However true love wins out.
I didn't care for the women's lib part of it (also the exaggerated era prudishness is cartoonish)....Lucy has spunk and George is the perfect milquetoast husband...."I want a wife who speaks her mind thinks on her own blah blah blah...." This turns it into a typical modern PC chick flick....no wonder it was popular. That was the "plot" and raison d'etre of the film other reviewers are looking for.
I did like the beautiful scenery and wonderfully recreated world of the Edwardian era. It is a pretty movie to watch.
I will gush over this film because it is worthy of praise and a
standing ovation. A Room With A View is likely one of the most perfect
films to grace screens in decades. The E.M. Forrester story produced
and directed by the team of Ivory and Merchant brings the tale of Miss
Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham-Carter) to life in perfect Edwardian
Wonderful locations of the Florence cathedral, Palazzo Vecchio, sculpture by Donatello, and an assortment of rolling landscapes are stunning visual fodder for this comic tale of Apolonian vs. Dionesian parlor manners. Exquisite young Bonham-Carter's casting as the virginal heiress is thwarted by her traveling companion, the venerable Dame Maggie Smith as her meddling biddy chaperon, Aunt Charlotte, with Dame Judy Dench as a proto-Jackie Collins author, Elenore Lavish, Daniel Day-Lewis as the prissy snobbish Cecil Vyse, and, a gorgeous, naked Julian Sands as socialist George Emerson comprises a most outstanding casting achievement.
The excellent soundtrack offering of Dame Kiri Te Kaniwa's rendition of "O Mio Caro" takes your breath away as are the bits of wonderful piano solos that Lucy produces throughout the film. The cinematography is most wonderful with scenic panoramas of the far off Florence or Lucy sauntering through a field of poppies and wildflowers to receive the kiss to curl your toes from George Emerson, well, can romantic love get any better? This video is required for collectors of films of Julian Sands and Daniel Day-Lewis, however, its real value is as one of the finest of the Merchant Ivory magic touch in film making.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You don't need much room to view this disappointing 1985 film. The
problem is that with the exception of Maggie Smith, who gives new
meaning to spinsterhood, the characters are unbelievable in this
brooding Merchant-Ivory piece set in the Victorian era.
Daniel Day-Lewis comes off as a fop or dandy; even though he is engaged to Helena Bonham Carter here. She finds true love in Italy and it follows her back home in England.
The film often drags The scene with the naked men was funny but the result was highly predictable.
The men in particular are really off the wall in this film.
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