Up 1,450 this week

The Governess (1998)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  31 July 1998 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.2/10 from 2,351 users   Metascore: 60/100
Reviews: 57 user | 34 critic | 25 from

When the father of privileged Rosina da Silva violently dies, she decides to pass herself off as a gentile and finds employment with a family in faraway Scotland. Soon she and the family ... See full summary »


Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $9.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Picks: October

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they are excited to see in October.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 36 titles
created 26 Nov 2011
list image
a list of 29 titles
created 03 Mar 2012
a list of 33 titles
created 15 Mar 2013
a list of 40 titles
created 11 months ago
a list of 26 titles
created 8 months ago

Related Items

Search for "The Governess" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Governess (1998)

The Governess (1998) on IMDb 6.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Governess.
3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Adventure | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

At an undisclosed location and time an Empress has seven years to provide her Emperor with an heir to his throne. If she does not succeed during this time, the Emperor is free to marry a ... See full summary »

Director: Julien Vrebos
Stars: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Max Beesley, Rosana Pastor
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Finbar and Danny are close childhood friends who live in a depressing neighbourhood in an Irish town. Finbar gets the chance to play soccer in an international soccer team abroad but can't ... See full summary »

Director: Sue Clayton
Stars: Luke Griffin, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Sean Lawlor
Action | Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A nurse eavesdrops with a friend on a cell phone conversation that describes a bank heist. She and the friend then conspire to blackmail the robbers for $2 million.

Director: Mel Smith
Stars: Kevin McNally, Minnie Driver, Mary McCormack
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

Based on a true story, THE VIRGIN OF JUAREZ combines issues of politics, fanaticism and religion with murder, violence and redemption.

Director: Kevin James Dobson
Stars: Angus Macfadyen, Ana Claudia Talancón, Guillermo Díaz
The Maker (1997)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Josh is a high school guy who lives with adoptive parents and is involved in little crimes with his friends (including young lesbian Bella). Suddenly his elder brother Walter comes out of ... See full summary »

Director: Tim Hunter
Stars: Matthew Modine, Mary-Louise Parker, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Confused, non-linear film tells the sexual story of a film director from his life at age 5, age 12, age 16, a man embarking on his first film in 1950's Tunisia, and finally to his current ... See full summary »

Director: Mike Figgis
Stars: Julian Sands, Saffron Burrows, Stefano Dionisi
Gormenghast (TV Mini-Series 2000)
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A villain threatens the rise of a new earl in an ancient kingdom.

Stars: Celia Imrie, Christopher Lee, Warren Mitchell
The Tribe (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Property developer Jamie has to evict some weird, post-modern hippies from a building. But they slowly drag him into their dark underworld of bizarre rituals and dangerous liaisons.

Director: Stephen Poliakoff
Stars: Joely Richardson, Jeremy Northam, Anna Friel
The Tesseract (2003)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A psychologist, an Englishman, a bellboy and a wounded female assasin have their fates crossed at a sleazy Bangkok hotel.

Director: Oxide Pang Chun
Stars: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Saskia Reeves, Alexander Rendell
Happy Now (2001)
Comedy | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A teenage girl whose eerie resemblance to a local Welsh beauty queen killed 14 years earlier disturbs one of the men responsibile for her accidental death.

Director: Philippa Cousins
Stars: Philip Howe, Emmy Rossum, Robert Pugh
Comedy | Sci-Fi | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

This horror story involves a woman hiding out with four pastel colored poodles in a desert gas station with the loot from a heist while her boy friend does prison time. A meteorite crashes ... See full summary »

Director: Alberto Sciamma
Stars: Melinda Clarke, Jason Durr, Mapi Galán
Tangled (2001)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A young man is found bruised, beaten and stumbling down a secluded road. As the police try to piece together what happened, the convoluted relationship between a young woman and her two ... See full summary »

Director: Jay Lowi
Stars: Rachael Leigh Cook, Shawn Hatosy, Jonathan Rhys Meyers


Cast overview, first billed only:
Florence Hoath ...
Clementina Cavendish
Henry Cavendish
Mrs. Cavendish
Arlene Cockburn ...
Lily Milk, the Maid
Emma Bird ...
Countess Koulinskyi ...
Aunt Sofka (as The Countess Koulinskyi)
Bruce Myers ...
Rosina's Father
Diana Brooks ...
Rosina's Mother
Raymond Brody ...
Olga ...
Cyril Shaps ...
Kendal Cramer ...
Young Rosina


When the father of privileged Rosina da Silva violently dies, she decides to pass herself off as a gentile and finds employment with a family in faraway Scotland. Soon she and the family father, Charles, start a passionate secret affair. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and nudity | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

31 July 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A nevelőnő  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$57,799 (USA) (31 July 1998)


$3,719,492 (USA) (8 January 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The date of copyright given at the end of the film is MCMXVII (1917) and not MCMXCVII (1997). See more »


Henry Cavendish: I stink. I shall bathe in scent for you.
Mary Blackchurch: Don't do it for me. Do it for yourself.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

But we can be any self we want, can't we?
22 April 2005 | by (Bookseller of the Blue Ridge) – See all my reviews

The Governess was, by far, a very pitiful film. I do not use this word loosely, as it honestly was a poor excuse for a movie. I finished watching this feature with only one word on my mind … "why"? Honestly, you could use this question at the end of every scene of this film and it would seem like it fit. There were so many inconsistencies that lead to a lack of development (both in the story and in the characters) which ultimately lead to a very confusing film with actors walking through the motions instead of giving any explanation. Scenes would occur with no foreshadowing, understanding, or drive to a complete ending. It was as if I was watching several different ideas thrown together without really any resolution. Actors were setting events in motion that did not seem to fit their character or really were resolved. This was my biggest issue with this film. The complete and utter lack of structure to this film brought all specks of foundation crumbling down with a genuine "ripple-effect" being felt throughout the rest of the film as a result.

Let me explain myself further on this lack of consistency throughout the film. I would liken this film to a bowl of lumpy oatmeal that had a zebra in it. It made no sense nor was there any logic behind it all. Minnie Driver was the worst culprit of this deed. Her character's lines were drawn very fuzzy and nearly transparent. She would do things like talk about sex all the time with her sister, but yet she seemed very open to sexual experiences all the time. She has her first moment of passion in this film, and there is no pain or excitement. It nonchalantly happens, and this just didn't seem to fit the original conversation that we had at the beginning of the film with Rosina and her sister. She is a very intelligent woman that accidentally finds a solution to Wilkinson's problem and suddenly wants full rights to his invention? That was confusing and completely random. Is it not obvious to anyone else that her teaching methods were non-existent. Anyone in their right mind could see that she wasn't teaching Cavendish's daughter anything. The sudden and awkward relationship that randomly forms between Driver and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers nearly had me laughing out loud. I thought maybe I had discovered some magic in this film as Rhys-Meyers literally "poofed" into the scene and suddenly caused some unneeded drama. It felt that the director (or writer) was thinking that the original story was going nowhere fast, so by adding this random character we may be able to advance the plot a bit (or confuse the lesser film enthusiasts). Well, it didn't fool me, I saw that he was nearly a "cut-and-paste" character used to strengthen an already weakened story. Don't get me started on the ending, which had no consistency to the rest of the story. Again using the "cut-and-paste" method, the writer of this film needed a way to just end the story, and this was the only solution they could arrive to. It is sad when actors are forced to do things out of character … but I guess that is the name of the game in Hollywood. Fix until completely broken, or at least salvageable.

The remainder of the story was unexciting dribble. There were maybe a handful of neat cinematography moments where you could see that there was one sliver of creativity trying to peak through coupled with some bars of decent, period piece music, but nothing to write to Grandma about. More family structure with some stronger introductions could have strengthened this film a bit more, but as I stated before, by leaving open-ended scenes just lying around the entire film, you will experience a crack in your foundation. What may seem like a sturdy story, will eventually wear down over time, and by the end of this film I felt that the house was crumbling down on top of me. Wilkinson plays his normal self in this film, while Driver apparently did not want to get naked, but everyone else had too (I will have to see a doctor after those images were burned into my eyes … eeewwww). Also, she wore the same dress everyday. That was disgusting and I could smell her through the television. Sex and dirty laundry. Now there is a great film for you! There just seemed to be some potential floating around here, but instead it was just rubbish. Nothing was answered, questions seemed to fall like snow in Alaska, and mediocrity seemed to reign supreme.

Overall, this could have been a decent film that combined the powerful themes of science and love together, but instead it was just pitiful. I cannot stress enough the disturbing fact that characters were going through motions without any sort of pre-explanation. I don't need cinematic moments handed to me like a child, but something should have been done to build a foundation. Just remember the oatmeal with a zebra analogy that I used. If you were as confused about that as I was, then you will completely understand the film The Governess, while if you prefer zebras in your oatmeal … then, maybe this film is for you!

Grade: * out of *****

7 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Was the father murdered? rinkdink2
Totally in love with Minnie Driver's character higgs_boson
wow DrPaigeMarshall
Charles question (spoliers) CrazyMaryT
JRM foxytaxi85
Any torrent links or playable media online links? bean_is_mean
Discuss The Governess (1998) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: