An impoverished woman who has been forced to choose between a privileged life with her wealthy aunt and her journalist lover, befriends an American heiress. When she discovers the heiress is attracted to her own lover and is dying, she sees a chance to have both the privileged life she cannot give up and the lover she cannot live without.
Helena Bonham Carter,
On a rainy London night in 1946, novelist Maurice Bendrix has a chance meeting with Henry Miles, husband of his ex-mistress Sarah, who abruptly ended their affair two years before. ... See full summary »
When Lucy Honeychurch and chaperone Charlotte Bartlett find themselves in Florence with rooms without views, fellow guests Mr Emerson and son George step in to remedy the situation. Meeting... See full summary »
Helena Bonham Carter,
Terence Davies' The House of Mirth is a tragic love story set against a background of wealth and social hypocrisy in turn of the century New York. Lily Bart is a ravishing socialite at the height of her success who quickly discovers the precariousness of her position when her beauty and charm start attracting unwelcome interest and jealousy. Torn between her heart and her head, Lilly always seems to do the right thing at the wrong time. She seeks a wealthy husband and in trying to conform to social expectations, she misses her chance for real love with Lawrence Selden. Written by
Director Terence Davies whenever possible used actual period dresses - some so fragile with age that they ripped off of the actresses during scenes - and period corsets, which caused some of the actresses great pain but made them understand better the constraints put on women of the period. See more »
The film, which takes place during 1905-07, depicts several characters attending a performance of the opera "Cosi fan tutte" - but that opera was first performed in New York in 1922. See more »
This is my favorite of all the Wharton novels adapted for the screen. The precision and depth with which the director and actors go is absolutely true to the novel in almost every respect.
Gillian Anderson is a revalation here, she perfectly captures the repression and pain of being a woman stuck in that time and place with no way out. You can feel her pain and torment in every quivering close up, and the passion contained in her kissing scenes (or to be more precise, her NON kissing- kissing scene) with Eric Stoltz is something to behold.
Eric Stoltz is equally amazing in one of the most complex and difficult roles for a man to play. I must disagree with the viewer from China, Mr. Seldon is NOT meant to be terribly "masculine" or "deep voiced" or "unbearably handsome"- those are modern readings that perhaps we expect from the role of the 'male hero' in modern films- but here Mr. Selden is written exactly as he is played- walking a fine line between what is correct behaviour for the time, and what he was or wasn't allowed to do in regards to her rescue. He is torn by love of Lilly Bart and the realization that he is not the right man for her, as the all important social scene would frown on their union. The actor portrays this ambiguity perfectly, and I for one found it a relief that the man didn't ride in and save the day in that cliched movie way.
I also must commend the supporting players of Anthony LaPaglia (whose role "Sim Rosedale" is originally written as a Jewish man, one of the few changes made to the n script adaption of the novel) and Laura Linney as Bertha Dorset, the 'bad girl' of the story. They both bring a life to the story that is rare to see in a period film, most actors seem to be too afraid or respectful of the material to really bring it to life.
I even enjoyed Dan Ackyroyd in a role that I didn't see him in or expect to like him in. I suppose my feelings about him are coloured by old Saturday Night Live shows, or Driving Miss Daisy, but I think he was terrific in a role that is not the most explored in the novel or the film.
Everything about this film held my interest and moved me, and I'm a very tough audience as far as Wharton goes. The pacing is indeed slow, but if you give yourself over to it it is like taking a warm bath in a quick shower world.
Very well done!
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