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A Month by the Lake
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Reviews & Ratings for
A Month by the Lake More at IMDbPro »

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26 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful Romance for mature people

Author: Diana from Alabama
15 February 2001

I chose this movie for our Valentine's night movie and it was perfect! It is a romance for and about mature people -- that is, people in the later years of their lives. If you are in your teens or even 20's, this movie may not appeal to you. And if you like hot, sweaty sexual scenes, it will definitely disappoint. It is flirtatious, funny, elegant, tasteful, uplifting and amusing. The scenery and setting at Lake Como, Italy in 1937 are serene and beautiful. They don't make many movies like this anymore; finding this 1995 jewel was a rare pleasure.

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21 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

A fine film, unnoticed by most

Author: sparkyfarber
4 February 2003

I have watched this film often, and it improves with time. Ms Redgrave is captivating. Mr Fox, a bit of a fop, elicits my sympathy vis-a-vis his bad treatment from Ms Thurman. It is beautifully filmed and has the quality unique to films not American made. Not necessarily better, just different. Did I not say I was enchanted with Ms Redgrave's character? I liked her for her maturity, her vulnerability and her decency. I wanted them to get together and the last scene delighted me.I recommend this film to those who do not need blockbuster productions in order to be entertained. It's a gem!

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20 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

A picture postcard perfect little tale

Author: George Parker from Orange County, CA USA
3 March 2001

"A Month by the Lake" has strong parallels with "Up at the Villa" as both films are about the idle rich who spend time at a villa in the North of Italy in the days prior to WWII. "A Month..." is a sublime story about a very starched Brit (Fox) and a somewhat capricious lady (Redgrave). Both mature, in late middle age, the principals stumble along on a collision course with love in this sweet, airy, picture postcard perfect little tale. An enjoyable watch for more mature audiences. A must see for Redgrave fans.

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18 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Redgrave and Fox, what a combination!

Author: James (
1 July 2000

A Month By The Lake, a wonderful little film. Set at the eve of World War 2 in Italy at Lake Como. A love triangle occurs between Redgrave, Fox and Thurman. The comic aspect is done very well, notible for its Tennis and boating scenes. But this also has a sad aspect as the Major(Fox) thinks that Miss Beaumont(Thurman) is in love with him, but is really only having a little fun teasing him. The lake is so wonderful and so are the photographs that Miss Bentley take.John Irvin gives good direction to the film which again adds effect and beauty. One of my favourite films it captured me. A film of very rare excellence with three top actors of past and present. 5 out of 5, wonderful.

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Picturesque Period Romance with Redgrave in Rare, Breezy Form

Author: Ed Uyeshima from San Francisco, CA, USA
22 April 2006

Since George Clooney and his rat pack seem to be bringing back a certain cachet to Italy's Lake Como, it's worth revisiting this picture-postcard pretty 1995 romantic comedy directed by John Irvin since it is set there before the onset of WWII. The lightweight plot focuses on a beautiful, elegant villa in the summer of 1937 where Miss Bentley has already spent sixteen summers with her father. Adored by the staff, she spends her first summer there after her father has died, and on her first day, she is immediately drawn to the polite but rather pompous Major Wilshaw. In typical movie-only fashion, they meet repeatedly, awkwardly and fractiously, in particular, over a tennis match where she defeats the major with ease in front of a most enthusiastic group. There is unavoidable but unspoken chemistry between the two, but further complications ensue with the arrival of Miss Beaumont, the young, flirtatious nanny of a wealthy Italian family staying at the villa. Miss Beaumont manages to convince Wilshaw that she loves him, and he becomes instantly enamored. On her side, Miss Bentley attracts the attention of a much younger admirer named Vittorio, a local Vespa-riding lothario intent on seducing her amid his raging hormones.

As you can imagine, the complications sort themselves out, but the clever way that Irvin and screenwriter Trevor Bentham handle the story, while patently old-fashioned, is also charming and sometimes quite perceptive about how more mature people approach love. In a rare comedic turn that immediately recalls Kate Hepburn circa 1955's "Summertime", Vanessa Redgrave redefines any preconceived image one would have of a spinster, as she brings buoyant energy and a blessed lack of self-consciousness to the independent Miss Bentley. Even though she makes no attempt at assimilating into the period with her most contemporary look, she shows off a deft skill for romantic foreplay for likely the first time since she was a mod swinger in the 1960's with movies like "Morgan!". Her athleticism is also impressive whether on the tennis court or in the lake swimming the backstroke, though her rather androgynous look wouldn't seem like it would attract the not altogether unwelcome attentions of horny Italian boys.

The other points of the triangle are not as fully drawn. Edward Fox plays the major with a stiff upper lip and glowers appropriately in every scene where he loses his dignity - which is often. Fresh off "Pulp Fiction", Uma Thurman plays a man-eating vamp in broad strokes, and her constant delight in humiliating the major gets tiresome. Her beauty, however, is inarguable and Wilshaw's obsession understandable. There is some intriguing casting on the sidelines - as the moony Vittorio, Alessandro Gassman (son of actor Vittorio Gassman) would play the viral maniac in "Transporter 2" a decade later; and the proprietress of the villa, Signora Fascioli, is played by Alida Valli 46 years after her seductive turn as Harry Lime's lover Anna in Carol Reed's "The Third Man" with only her still-sultry eyes recognizable (sadly she passed away today - April 22, 2006). The beauty of Lake Como is captured in all its shimmering light by cinematographer Pasqualino De Santis, and Nicola Piovani's music score provides the right evocative flavor for the period. It's a sweet, entertaining movie, brief at 91 minutes, and definitely for viewers fond of travelogue movies like Mike Newell's "Enchanted April" and Audrey Wells' "Under the Tuscan Sun". The 2003 DVD has no extras.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Into another world

Author: Brigid O Sullivan (wisewebwoman) from Toronto, Canada
16 November 2006

And for me, that's what movies are all about, whether it be the Disney Cinderella that was my first movie ever, or this last, A Month by the Lake, that is the place I want to be, in some other realm outside my own experience. And this movie fulfills that desire on many fronts and also kept me guessing from beginning to end.

The performances of the cast were extraordinary in the most difficult of materials, an understated script and the repressive natures of the leads. Vanessa Redgrave -playing Miss Bentley, a beyond middle-age spinster of uncertain age - does much with this. In her outwardly almost flirtatious behaviour you catch the loneliness within, but barely. You determine she does have an interest in pursuing the major, she hears his voice in a dining room and then goes in slow pursuit but practically stands him up on the first 'date' and for no earthly reason we can determine.

Edward Fox - playing Major Wilsaw a retired colonel from WW1 - has the major down pat, the peacocky walk, the clipped sentences, the fear lurking behind the eyes, all embodying the pre-war world of 1937 in Italy on Lake Como.

Uma Thurman, in one of her first 'airings' plays Miss Beaumont, a young woman taking a position as a nanny to a wealthy Italian family staying at the same resort as Miss Bentley and Major Wilshaw who flirts one thinks rather cruelly with the Major leading him on in boredom but does she, we wonder, when the movie takes off in unexpected directions.

Vanessa is sexy and wonderful, you sense there is an unstated other life underlying her character as there is with Major Wilshaw. Uma is the ingénue of a kind, an unmanageable young woman, incorrigible as another era would have it, sent to straighten herself out in Europe far away from disgracing her family in America. She is the innocent abroad, or is she. She assumes an avid interest in the photographs Miss Bentley takes of the young man in love with Miss Bentley (a scene contrived by Miss Bentley) and is astounded at Miss Bentley's capacity to captivate.

It meanders along from there with beautiful cinematography and an unforgettable tennis game. Too slow moving for many tastes. Wonderful eccentric characters - too odd for some - played to the hilt by a stellar cast. 8 out of 10.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Delightful film... Great cast...

Author: rps-2 from Bracebridge Ont
14 September 2001

Take two outstanding British actors, give them a clever, witty script, set them in a gorgeous part of Italy and a fascinating era of history, and you can't help but produce a great movie. It's a romance but it's also a delicious send up of the vanity of men and the deviousness of women. Lovely work with superb photography and a haunting musical theme.It captures the essence of pre war Europe and the joy of Italian life even under fascism. Vanessa Redgrave and Edward Fox, two of my very favourite people, didn't disappoint me. Enjoyed it immensely

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29 out of 50 people found the following review useful:

Uneven, Unpleasant

Author: jhirsch-2 from Dane, WI
13 December 2004

I don't usually comment but for once I don't agree with anybody else. Quite simply, I think this movie was confused and exaggerated and a waste of acting talent. The premise is a mix of standard conventions, the "white expatriates in a romantic foreign land" meets "laughter in the shadow of war" framework. I wouldn't mind the clichés so much, if not for:

-Edward Fox's bizarre performance as the major, where he seems to waiver between creepy predator and grinning imbecile.

-Typically elegant Vanessa Redgrave in a goofy impulsive performance where her seemingly complex inconsistencies really just make her look foolish.

-Uma Thurman makes it hard to remember why she doesn't totally suck as an actress. I rarely knew what emotion she was trying to convey but perhaps people could be confused into thinking she was layered and mysterious.

-The grinning Italians in the background might as well be Mario and Luigi for all the depth of character we get to see. They bob around happily, cheering and waving and doing pratfalls.

-The central element, the love story between Redgrave and Fox, is totally stiff and unbelievable and made me feel weird just watching it.

All told, I watch about 5 videos a week and this is one of the very few movies I have shut off before it's done. stay away.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Not a classic, but still a nice movie to watch

Author: Louisville88 from United States
24 March 2006

This is a wonderful movie. Redgrave is wonderful as Ms. Bennet. She is a very good actress and its nice to see her do some light comedy. My only complaint is Uma Thurman. It seemed as if she didn't know how to play her character. her mood changes, her mannerisms, even her attitude. Her scenes are also awkward. She never gives a convincing performance. Redgrave, once again, is wonderful. Displaying the various moods needed and giving off an award winning performance. Fox is also a so-so actor. He is good, but also awkward and one really doesn't see why Redgrave would want him so badly. This film has been coming on t.v. for quite some time now and I watch it every time. I've even bought the DVD! It is a nice romantic comedy that can be enjoyed. Also, it is funny to watch Fox's not so quick hand, as he does his magic tricks.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Lake Como is beautiful!

Author: Rosemea D.S. MacPherson from US
7 July 1999

An enjoyable movie. The scenery is beautiful as well as the photography. The outfits are really nice. Set in Italy by the Lake of Como, which looks like a still painting. Vanessa Redgrave, (Howards End) Miss Bentley goes on her holiday. She ends up falling in love with Major Wilshaw, Edward Fox, (Gandhi) after conflicting with a nanny, Miss Beaumont, Uma Thurman (The Truth About Cats & Dogs). Vittorio Balsari, Alessandro Gassman plays an Italian fellow who is really charming. Favorite scenes: Miss Bentley putting her earrings on. Major Wilsaw and Miss Bentley going swimming. Favorite Quote: " It is better to observe than been observed."

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