A Room with a View (1985) Poster

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Edwardian love
victor775415 August 2004
A Room with a View possesses a fabulous cast, beautiful cinematography, an awesome adapted script, and a tale of oppressed desire during the paradigm shift from the repressive Victorian age to the more liberal Edwardian time. The film moves at a deliberate pace of country strolls and carriage rides filling the viewer with literary awakenings and music compositions. Poppies, barley, and Florence architecture decorate the screen.

The film is witty if anything with carefree individuals roaming about with leisure on their minds. Pure love and desire aches throughout and Italy is the place to bring the lovers together.

It is a handsome picture. Detailed period pieces and costumes. The cast is phenomenal! Helena Bohnam Carter portrays the peevish Lucy Honeychurch on her way to becoming her prudish Cousin and chaperone, Charlotte Bartlett (The Great Maggie Smith.) However The spirit of Italy will prevent such an occurrence and fill Miss Honeychurch with pure desire for George, the man who was brought up from the evils and hate of the world.

The adaptation is superb. Fun. It is a film to live in and swim in the sacred lake. One of the best films of the 80's. Terrific!
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It's aging well
pekinman20 December 2004
I have enjoyed 'A Room with a View' since it arrived on the scene in 1985. I have watched it many times and the video is wearing out and I fully intend to get the DVD of it soon. I saw it again the other night and am still charmed by it, in fact, I enjoyed it more than ever. Yes, it's a costume drama under glass, but it's a very well-done example of that popular genre. Films like this are greatly appealing to people like me who yearn for a gentler society and manners, though without the uptight staidness as exemplified by Aunt Charlotte (Maggie Smith) and Cecil Vyse (Daniel Day-Lewis). So this movie falls under the category of "comfort" film for me, and it is one of the very best.

Often Merchant/Ivory productions ring false ('Remains of the Day', for example), when they attempt to make a political statement; in that case regarding the under-current in Britain that led to the surprisingly popular British Union of Fascists created by Sir Oswald Mosley prior to WW2. But when James Ivory and his team stick to romance and the pretty manners of Edwardians, they are hard to beat.

Of the performers, Julian Sands seems the most "improved" in my opinion from earlier viewings. He is wonderful as the Byronic lover and has a ton of chemistry with Helena Bonham-Carter's lovely, spicey Lucy Honeychurch. Daniel Day-Lewis's Cecil Vyse seems a bit more contrived as time passes but is in the end a touching portrayal of a type of man that I despise.

There isn't weak link in the entire cast. The Puccini arias and Beethoven piano sonatas are beautiful and enhance the story. The photography is gorgeous and the other technical aspects are flawless.

This is the pinnacle of Merchant/Ivory films, I cannot imagine them producing anything better in the future, but who knows. They do seem to be in a cultural rut now, however.

The fringe film crowd will probably descry this sort of populist cinema, but I think that is narrow-minded snobbery, as boorish as Cecil Vyse and his insufferable intolerance to "the plebians."
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9/10
Vivid comedy of manners
marissas752 June 2007
"A Room with a View" is one of the best-known Merchant-Ivory films, the one that made their reputation for tastefully adapting Edwardian novels. Working from E. M. Forster's charming story, Merchant and Ivory add gorgeous Tuscan cinematography, lush opera music, and a cast of talented British actors. Even a skinny-dipping scene is done with enough class that the movie got away with a PG rating (though that probably wouldn't happen nowadays!). In short, Merchant-Ivory makes it look easy—and this ease has led to charges of their films being dull and middlebrow, as well as to many imitators.

But this stereotype of "a Merchant-Ivory film" fails to mention just how vivid and hilarious "A Room with a View" actually is. With scene-stealing actors like Maggie Smith as a prim, passive-aggressive chaperone and Daniel Day-Lewis as a self-centered young man whose every gesture tells of his fastidious rigidity, a rich vein of humor runs through the film. The movie also delights in putting its heroine Lucy (a baby-faced Helena Bonham Carter) in situations that prove awkward, funny, and ultimately invigorating for a well-bred young lady of 1905. Lucy finds herself in a love triangle, with society telling her to choose Cecil (Day- Lewis) but a deeper force pulling her toward the unconventional, moody George Emerson (Julian Sands).

A comedy of manners, "A Room with a View" is sometimes guilty of seeing its characters as types, rather than people. Even Lucy is not much more than "the young girl transfigured by Italy" that Miss Lavish (Judi Dench), a writer of cheap novels, labels her as. Still, it's easy to get caught up in the romance of this delightful movie. After seeing it, you'll want to go out and defend Truth and Love from all those who would deny them. Or at least to start saving up for a trip to Italy.
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10/10
That rarest of great novel adaptations-- a film that's better than the book
Jason Berkley20 September 2002
No disrespect to the achingly elegant prose of E.M. Forster, but the last chapter of his novel simply cannot compare to this film's last shot, of a pair of lovers in a pensione in Florence, finally with their view of the Arno. As for the rest of this brilliant adaptation, it is populated with actors so perfectly cast it's as if they'd been invented for the roles-- Julian Sands as the Edwardian bohemian George Emerson, Helena Bonham-Carter, radiant as Lucy Honeychurch, Denholm Elliott, once again stealing every scene he's in, and Daniel Day-Lewis as the priggish Cecil Vyse, in a performance so self-consciously stiff he looks as though he were taken off the cover of the New Yorker. It's romantic, funny, stylish and impassioned. I first saw this film when it was released, and even at a young age, I knew I'd fallen in love. Twenty years later, I'm still in love with it.
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10/10
My favourite film ever.
larajenny26 January 2001
Warning: Spoilers
A lot of people expect this adaption of EM Forster's A Room with a View to be a stuffy costume drama. They see actors in period dress and are not interested. What those people are missing out on is a very funny, contemporary, subtle, well-acted and insightful film. This is as good an adaption from literature to film as I've ever seen. The tale of a group of English tourists to Italy and how their experiences change them is a stunning satire of Victorian social norms without losing sight of the charm of the individual characters. Fantastic.
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9/10
romantic and funny
abbynyc1 April 2004
This movie made me go to Florence, Italy. And once I got there, they actually showed it every other night at the pensione I stayed in. Though set in Victorian times, it is reminiscent of a Jane Austen novel- romantic and humorous, but more passionate. Characters are lovingly made fun of. The acting is wonderful. People you've seen elsewhere, but in unusual roles. Helena Bonham Carter is the confused heroine, Maggie Smith plays her passive-aggressive aunt, you won't believe it's Daniel Day-Lewis playing the most irritating pompous man, Judi Dench is a gossipy romance novelist, Julian Sands is adorably weird, and the supporting characters are also wonderful. It's one of favorites.
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9/10
A Room with a View
FilmFanatic098 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
"A Room with a View" is certainly a film rarity, in that this adaptation fully lives up to an expectations set by E.M. Forster's classic novel. The film is set during the Edwardian period, a time marked by the replacing of Victorian ways with more liberal ideals. This idea is personified by the static characters of freethinking George Emerson (Julian Sands) and prudish Cecil Vyse (Daniel Day Lewis). Between these two extremes, we find our heroine Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham-Carter), a young woman with a zest for life, but unsure of exactly what to do with it. In referencing her skills at the piano, one character puts it quite nicely, "If Miss Honeychurch ever takes to live as she plays, it will be very exciting- both for us and her." It proves to be exciting for the audience too, as we watch her coming of age through fascinating interactions with both fiancée Cecil, and George, the young man she meets while abroad in Italy.

It certainly doesn't hurt that these interactions are staged against some of the most beautiful scenery ever seen on the screen. Watching segments of the film with no sound could serve as an effective travelogue for Florence, Italy or Surrey, England. Of course that is just an added bonus, as it is Forster's characters who make the film come so alive. In addition to the three points of the love triangle, veteran actors such as Judi Dench, Denholm Elliot, and Maggie Smith give such performances that upon rereading the novel, I suspect it would be an impossible task to imagine these characters any other way. In addition to the perfect ensemble cast, directing/producing team Ismail Merchant and James Ivory give absolute proficiency to their adaptation of the novel. All the right scenes are there. (We forgive them for a slight alteration to the classic "kiss in field of violets" scene, as violets were not in season during production.) Dialogue is taken directly from the pages of the novel. And they show boldness in their unrestrained filming of a playful skinny-dipping sequence. I suppose it would be hypocritical to shoot a scene lampooning repression in a repressed manner, however.

The basic story of "A Room with a View" is one which may have been told before, but like that special parent or teacher we all had growing up, this film tells that story better than anyone else could ever hope to. Its characters, their sensibilities, and their nuances enchant us. The entire production is a shining example of period film-making and the finished product is one worthy of repeated viewings. It truly gets better each time you see it. You'll notice more too. For instance, pay attention to Lucy's love scenes with her two men, particularly what transpires and whether they take place in or out of doors. It is a testament to the adapters, that other such literary elements from the novel remain intact here. In short, Forster laid the blueprint from which these filmmakers built a tour de force.
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an academy award winner that is really a true winner
iwishiwereabondgirl4 February 2004
Merchant-Ivory always do a good job. Their films are not only stunning visually, but they evoke an emotional response. A Room with a View is superficially a love story. and I hate to admit it kind of stays there. But they stick to the books. Having read the respective, Howard's End, and a Passage to India, I can truly say they adhere to what has been written. But the books are completely about what you read between the lines. E.M Forester was pretty disgusted by his culture. Yet it was his....and he loved it.......because it provided itself with misfits...i.e Lucy and her beau. He was an echo of Oscar Wilde. I think if you look very hard into this movie you will see that. Denholm Elliot is the epitome of an englishman who isn't an englishman. and he is the complete opposite of Mrs. Vyse....his opposing character. Even the vicar isn't what he supposed to be. Nude Bathing (Oh my Goodness) and in praise of passion he is a free spirit. I think anyone who can say bad about his movie has issues. Yes, its main-stream international. But its beautiful.
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Remains a Favorite
moviefan2003va9 July 2003
This movie remains one of my favorites of all time. The acting is extremely pro. A case in point, I didn't realize for 5 years after first seeing the movie that Daniel Day Lewis was "Cecil Vyse". That's acting! "Lucy Honeychurch" (well played by Helena Bonham-Carter) embodies the struggle that most people must face at the beginning of their adult lives. Whether to listen to their own voice or the voice of others. Choosing one or the other can severely change the course of one's life. "George Emerson" as perfectly captured by Julian Sands, is the perfect man that most hope to find in their lifetime and we all push for "Lucy" to realize this. The supporting performances by the veteran cast that include Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Denholm Elliot, Simon Callow (the wonderful Reverend Beebe) equally are brilliant. Well done!
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Should have been Best Picture
Boyo-225 August 1999
This movie is completely beautiful and always fascinating to watch. Each actor does great work, with Maggie Smith (as usual) being the most memorable. Her nomination was deserved, but where was one for Daniel Day-Lewis? I thought he was more memorable than Denholm Elliot, who was nominated. This movie is one to own and take out to enjoy when the mood strikes.

Best line - "Because she IS Charlotte Bartlett"!
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10/10
Victorian vs. Edwardian
niffer211 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This may seem like a minor distinction to some, but it's worth noting that this movie is set in Edwardian (1908) times, not Victorian. This is the crux of the social commentary in the book (and, by extension, the film). Charlotte and Cecil are relics of Victorian stodginess, and George is the wave of the future. The line "The possession of leisure is a wonderful thing", when directed at Cecil, is a tongue-in-cheek insult. In 1908, "gentlemen" were giving way to a merchant class that respected those who earned their keep.

Consider that in 1885, Victorian Lucy would have fainted dead away if she saw George skinny dipping - or she would have been expected to fake it. She would not have understood the subtle suggestion that Cecil is probably gay. But our Edwardian Lucy of 1908 laughs, rather than faints, at the pond. She fully understands what George means when he says that Cecil is "the sort who can't know anyone intimately, least of all a woman." It's perfectly reasonable to expect that many viewers lack this context, and as a result are bored to tears by this film. Those of us who enjoy this sort of thing, however, will find reason to enjoy this film time and time again, year after year.
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10/10
A witty delight
vic-454 March 1999
What can I say about my favorite film. The first time I saw it I thought it was a laughable bore. However, I grew up a little, got an education and viewed the film again. Let me tell you one thing, if I could live in any film, this would be the one.

To swim in the sacred lake. To venture off to Florence. To play tennis with Freddy, Lucy, and George. To play comical songs on the piano which drives Cecil crazy. To believe not in world sorrow as I play Beethoven. To poke fun at "poor" Charlotte Bartlett.

The adaptation from novel to screen is phenomenal. The Eternal Why. If only I could find such love as George and Lucy. It has been my favorite film for over ten years now. So far there hasn't been a film to knock it off. This film is hard to get in to if you're not used to seeing British flicks but, hang in there and you will see something magical.

The cast is phenomenal. Perhaps the greatest collection of actors to appear together in one film. Just see it for these actors. They all went on to appear in many more popular productions.
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10/10
NEVER GET TIRED of this wonderful film
Andreapworth17 February 2011
Although I've seen it many times, I stumbled upon it on TMC the other night, and although it was late, absolutely HAD to watch it all again. Maybe I should buy my own copy???

Daniel Day-Lewis is the most 'sublime' and although he was offered the role that went to Julian Sands, he chose Cecil. And his acting speaks quiet volumes when Lucy has refused him and before going up to his bedroom, sits on the stair and calmly puts on his shoes.

The music, the scenery, and the period feel of the entire movie is just so perfect. So no wonder I didn't go to sleep, even though I've seen the movie 30+ times. It's just that good!! Denhom Elliot must also be mentioned - it was once said of him "don't ever get in a scene with him or a cute animal because nobody will pay attention to the other 'star'.
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9/10
Ah for the days of Merchant-Ivory
blanche-225 April 2007
"A Room with a View" is perhaps the jewel in the Merchant-Ivory crown, done in 1985, during their marvelous heyday. It was an era in film of lushly photographed dramas of another time and place, popular perhaps because many of us yearned for a simpler life and a return to some basic manners and standards. But these films also pointed up how much better women have it now, given the repressive ways women in earlier times were forced to live, and how often true love had to give way to convention.

Beautifully orchestrated with Puccini operatic music from "Gianni Schicchi" and "La Rondine," "A Room with a View" is a story set in Victorian times and concerns a young woman named Lucy, the petite Helena Bonham-Carter, who, while in Italy with her chaperone (Maggie Smith), meets George Emerson (Julian Sands). He falls madly in love with her, but unaccustomed to such boldness, she snubs him. Back home in England, she becomes betrothed to the tiresome, proper and erudite Cecil (Daniel Day-Lewis). Then George appears on the scene again. The passion only evidenced in Lucy's piano playing begins to surface, and it frightens her.

The story is told with both lightness and humor, and this intimate film is buoyed by wonderful acting. With her petite figure, magnificent head of hair, and a face full of expression, Bonham Carter is perfect as a confused and resentful young woman who doesn't know what's happening to her emotionally. Maggie Smith is brilliant as a troublesome chaperone who lives life by strict rules; Judi Dench is equally good as a novelist who lives in the exact opposite way. As George, Sands is a subtle yet ardent swain, and both Denholm Elliott as George's caring father and Simon Callow as the good reverend create marvelous, full characters. The chameleon, though, is Daniel Day-Lewis as Cecil, Lucy's skinny, snobbish fiancé. Each performance he gives is so drastically different from the one before - he is truly an amazing actor.

The film is an allegory in its way for the passage from Victorian England to the Edwardian period, and it's clear that E.M. Forester had no use for the repressions of the day and celebrated a boldness of spirit. Both the repressed and the rebellious are perfectly represented in "A Room with a View," a true Valentine to love.
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9/10
All the ways lead to Rome ... but Florence leads to all the ways ...
ElMaruecan8231 July 2013
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 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, invited during the following dinner, a free-spirited man, Mr. Emerson (Delnhom Elliott) proposes to switch their rooms. Emerson came with his son, and both belong to another class, high 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 noise clip, we're puzzled but not surprised. The film doesn't embarrass itself with explanations and trusts us enough to connect 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 kissing ways.

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 to 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's 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.
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8/10
It's kind of like "Jane Eyre"....really.
MartinHafer12 March 2012
Warning: 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.
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4/10
Dull and wooden
badajoz-15 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
So another Merchant-Ivory, and another UK period drama, so what?! It passes the time nicely enough but there is little here to stir anything. Good performances from some excellent actors/actresses notwithstanding, the plot is pretty poor, and the characters of the leading protagonists - eg Bonham Carter and Sands - do not make us really believe in this piece. There are some interesting background moments about the period - Rosemary Williams dressing to be fully buttoned up as women of the period did, and the nude bathing (far too long) indicating the famous poem about the opening of the First World War - 'Swimmers into cleanness leaping'- and the fate that lay in wait for a generation of young Edwardian men. But not enough. Insular British snobbery goes down well in the US I suppose, but pretty pictures and langourous hot summers do not make films interesting of themselves.
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4/10
Dullsview.
benbrae7630 April 2010
I've always found the works of Forster utterly dreary, purposeless, and without passion, or I should say with a strangled passion. This movie completely captures his predictable time-wasting tale, his mostly meaningless dialogue, his lifeless cardboard cut-out characters, and the inevitable ennui, with all the seemingly disinterested actors sleepwalking through most of it. There is a need for good direction and the distinct lack of it is very evident. The only thing really going for the movie is the photography, the costumes, and the settings. Forster himself would have nodded off, and even he deserves better treatment than this movie adaptation of his novel gives. There may be a little excitement for the ladies with a full male-nudity bathing scene, but that's as hot as it gets. The rest of it is pure Dullsville.
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1/10
A True Sleeper
Chris Zizzo16 February 2010
To this day, RWAV draws reverence as a seminal work, even being studied in film classes. It certainly broke many rules of film-making. Hardly any scene moved the plot along. Actually, there was no plot. The main action revolved around one chance encounter. The film favors style over substance and becomes not much more than a snapshot of an era. Think of one of those early Edison films; four minutes observing a Manhattan street corner in 1890. Fascinating, but tedious at an hour and a half.

Merchant Ivory are to be commended for what is probably a very faithful depiction of the Edwardian era, but modern audiences have simply seen too much and lived too fast to accept the ponderously slow pace of this 100 year old lifestyle. Pity, really. I pity myself for being unable to truly jump back into these slow times and endlessly fascinate on the minutiae of one young woman's romantic notions. The slowdown would probably do me good. As it was, it gave me about an hour's fitful sleep in an uncomfortable theater seat. Kudos to those who felt invigorated and restored by this work. I always thought I was one of your kind. I find now though, that I am a hopelessly modern man; a product of my age.
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2/10
A boring movie about nothing
ironman8176 June 2009
The fact that anyone likes this movie is a complete mystery to me. I have watched it several times and I see no merit in it whatsoever. I can not even figure out its genre. It is not a drama and I am shocked that anyone would describe it as a comedy. It is a full length feature film about a stolen kiss. Beautiful scenery, music and clothing are used to disguise the fact that there is no story, no suspense, no emotion, nothing. I can only conclude that the people who like this movie like movies about nothing. It is the Seinfeld joke in the form of a movie – a movie about nothing. I also think there are people nostalgic for the innocence of this bygone era. The fact that this movie has never to my knowledge appeared on any sort of great films list, not even for the 80's, is just proof of the fact that it was over-rated at the time and now has largely been forgotten. This is I think the fate of Merchant Ivory films, to be forgotten.
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A Delightfully Beautiful View
Chrysanthepop25 January 2009
With 'A Room With A View' the Merchant Ivory duo present a splendid period piece and a smart classy romantic comedy. The writing is smooth and the characters are so wonderfully surprising. The humour is both creative and intelligent and is rather subtle when compared to the over-the-top nonsense toilet humour that is so frequently evident in films these days. Yet, there is also the in-your-face shocking humour. While I found the skinny dipping sequence ghastly, it was also hilarious.

'A Room With A View' has class.The Italian and English locations are stunning and the costumes are intriguing. The cinematography is delightful and the score, especially the piano pieces, are marvelous. The cast is superb as it includes a very young Helena Bonham Carter, a brash Julian Sands, a gossipy Judi Dench, a pompous Daniel Day-Lewis, an opinionated Maggie Smith, a funny Denholm Elliot, an eccentric Simon Callow and a wild Rupert Graves. To sum it up, 'A Room With A View' is a delightfully beautiful little film. It became a surprise smash hit in the U.S. which helped gain the much-deserved international acclaim.
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10/10
Beautiful film
preppy-313 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
In the early 1900s young Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) is on vacation in Italy. There they meet young, free-wheeling George Emerson (Julian Sands). Lucy and George fall in love but she backs off being afraid. Back in England she agrees to marry self-righteous obnoxious Cecil Vyes (Daniel Day-Lewis) because he's a "safe" choice. Then George (by chance) moves near her...and sparks start to fly.

This is a costume drama and, like most of them, this is slow-moving and deliberately paced but I was never bored. The script is sharp, the movie looks beautiful and the cast is full of established English actors who know how to play their roles to the hilt. The only not so good acting was by Rupert Graves, Sands and Carter--but they were all very young when they did this so they were still learning. The only bad acting is by Daniel Day-Lewis. He plays his character so ridiculously obvious that he's just annoying. It's good that he has a small role. Also you probably think this is stuffy and dull...but there is a sequence when Graves, Sands and Simon Callow all go skinny-dipping! And yes--you see everything but it's all so innocent and fun that it's hard to be shocked. I saw it in a theatre and nobody was even remotely bothered. I'd say this is a costume drama for people who don't like costume dramas! Well worth seeing. I give it a 10!
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Nearly perfect film
avgjoedc15 September 2011
I say its nearly perfect, but I really cant fault it for anything. The performances are uniformly exquisite, the visuals/scenery are magnificent, the script follows the classic novel - but keeps the humor, irony, and pathos open to a modern audience. It is the most accessible and most enjoyable of the Merchant & Ivory translations of classic works - and really elevates the magic of the original EM Forster novel. While the leads keep the story going, the smaller roles constantly keep you amused. The aged sisters, the carefree brother, the nervous mother, the vicar, the bold authoress, etc all provoke a smile. And the last 3 minutes are simply delightful.
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6/10
Not my kind of film.
rc22314 July 1999
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: **)
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The best movie I have ever seen!
June195917 March 2003
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.
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