7.7/10
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70 user 29 critic

Maurice (1987)

After his lover rejects him, a young man trapped by the oppressiveness of Edwardian society tries to come to terms with and accept his sexuality.

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(from the novel by), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

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Kitty Aldridge ...
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Catherine Rabett ...
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Storyline

Two male English school chums find themselves falling in love at Cambridge. To regain his place in society, Clive gives up his forbidden love, Maurice (pronounced "Morris") and marries. While staying with Clive and his shallow wife, Anne, Maurice finally discovers romance in the arms of Alec, the gamekeeper. Written from personal pain, it's E.M. Forster's story of coming to terms with sexuality in the Edwardian age. Written by Susan Southall <stobchatay@aol.com>

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Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

18 September 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Морис  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,600,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$3,130,592 (USA)
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Wilby recalls on the DVD extras that there were no rehearsals at all for the movie - only two reads-through, and then the start of filming. See more »

Goofs

Wigmore Hall, where the boys meet in one scene, was known as Bechstein Hall until 1917. It was owned and operated by the German piano manufacturer Carl Bechstein & Sons. In1916 Britain seized German property in Britain. The hall was renamed Wigmore Hall on its reopening in 1917. So "Wigmore Hall" did not exist when the scene in the film (pre-war) takes place. See more »

Quotes

Maurice Hall: I'm walking on a volcano.
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Connections

Referenced in Frankenstein 2000 - Ritorno dalla morte (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

The Goldberg Variations
(uncredited)
Music by Johann Sebastian Bach
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User Reviews

A Gorgeous Adapation of a Very Personal Novel
25 February 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw MAURICE when it first appeared in theaters in the mid-80s and enjoyed it. I was surprised on a second viewing on DVD last night at how much I had forgotten about this film. This story of a thwarted love affair between two upper- class men during their years at Cambridge is a deeply absorbing and entertaining adaptation of Forster's posthumously published novel, which I read at in 1971. I thought the book rather dull. The movie seems anything but, which makes me wonder if I shouldn't pull it off my library shelves and give it another go.

Though James Wilby's Maurice Hall is the main character, it is Hugh Grant young aristocrat that is most intriguing here. Clive Durham (Grant) is a spoiled and deeply entrenched member of Britain's snobbish ruling class. It is Durham who pursues Wilby (not the other way around as some of these reviews would have you believe). Initially spooked by Durham's admission of his love for Maurice, he pursues Durham with a naive passion. But that passion is ruined when a fellow classmate from Cambridge is set up by a soldier in a bar and arrested by the police. This young man's future in politics and society is ruined (horrified, Durham says no to him when he asks to testify on his behalf), and he is found guilty and sentenced to six months in jail and hard labor. His picture is splashed across the headlines of London's tabloids. The realization that this could happen to him forces Durham to reject Maurice, pursue and marry a young girl from his class and move himself deeply into the closet. So much for the politics of homosexuality in Britain, circa 1912.

Maurice is devastated by his friend's rejection of him. Miserable, he seeks every avenue he can to reverse and cure his own homosexual longings. He even subjects himself to the quackery of a hypnotist-therapist (Ben Kinsley in a hilarious turn). Maurice finally gives in to his feelings when he finally falls deeply in love with the gamekeeper of Durham's estate (well played by the young and very handsome Rupert Graves).

This Merchant-Ivory film is, typically, gorgeous to look at, its pacing is novelistic and deeply rewarding. Hugh Grant showed early star appeal as the superficial and ultimately defeated victim of his class and society. He would rarely get the chance at so fine a part in the future despite his great success as a light comedian in a string of international hit movies (ABOUT A BOY being one such terrific film performance from this very appealing actor). James Wilby is pitch perfect as the perplexed and emotional Maurice. The expert supporting cast under the commanding direction of James Ivory delivers this period piece superbly. It's period look is typical of Merchant-Ivory productions--detailed, richly appointed and very beautiful. Kudos also to Kit Hesketh-Harvey's excellent screenplay.

One viewer here complained that ending was far too upbeat and unrealistic for its time, but I really didn't see it that way. There were many men and women who set up housekeeping in both London and New York, living their lives in discreet harmony under the noses of hostile societies. Still others preferred to move abroad to live their lives in discrete peace and tranquility. I prefer to think this is just what Maurice and Scudder do. If Maurice were as much of a snob as Durham, this might not have worked. But we see Maurice's slow understanding of the hypocrisy of his class in the aftermath of his affair with Durham, and he comes to realize that even he is somewhat constrained by his own upper-class upbringing in his initial interactions with Scudder's far lower standing.

This is a deeply affecting movie and holds up superbly. Highly recommended.


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