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London, summer 1923. Clarissa, MP Richard Dalloway's wife, sets out on a beautiful morning; she's shopping for flowers for her party that evening. At the same time Septimus Warren Smith, a young man who survived the battlefields of Europe, is suffering from a nightmarish delayed-onset form of shell-shock. Clarissa's nearly-grown daughter is distant, and preoccupied. In the course of one day, Peter, Clarissa's passionate old suitor, returns from India and is invited to her party; Settimus commits suicide; Clarissa relives a day in her youth (and her reasons for her choice of a life with the reliable Richard Dalloway). Written by
Eileen Berdon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is an superb character study, beautifully acted and directed.
Kudos go to all who participated in making this wonderful film. Vanessa Redgrave, as usual, is perfect as an aging dowager who settled for the "safe" path in life instead of seeking adventure and taking risks. When her old flame reappears, she reevaluates her choices and second-guesses the paths that she chose. The film also has a sub-plot about a shell-shocked World War I veteran who is in emotional torment and is inconsolable. The film works on two levels. It shows the interaction between proper British people who speak politely to one another, but the viewer senses that there are fierce and passionate undercurrents and important thoughts that seems to be unspoken. In addition, the film is a clear indictment of the stuffy and snobby British society of Post World War I England, in which a party could be of such importance that a person's reputation could hinge on its success. There is also a feminist slant in the movie. Can a woman who spends her time at home making parties and pleasing her husband ever feel fulfilled? Did Mrs. Dalloway make the right decision in "playing it safe" in life? That is up to the viewer to decide. Meanwhile, revel in the fabulous nuanced performances, the witty dialogue and the beautiful cinematography. This film is a triumph.
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