An American girl inherits a fortune and falls into a misguided relationship with a gentleman confidence artist whose true nature, including a barbed and covetous disposition, turns her life into a nightmare.
Isabel Archer, an American heiress and free thinker travels to Europe to find herself. She tactfully rebuffs the advances of Caspar Goodwood, another American who has followed her to England. Her cousin, Ralph Touchett, wise but sickly becomes a soulmate of sorts for her. She makes an unfortunate alliance with the creepy Madame Merle who leads her to make an even more unfortunate alliance with Gilbert Osmond, a smooth but cold collector of Objets' de art who seduces her with an intense but unattainable sexuality. Isabel marries Osmond only to realize she's just another piece of art for his collection and that Madame Merle and Osmond are lovers who had hatched a diabolical scheme to take Isabel's fortune. Isabel's only comfort is the innocent daughter of Osmond, Pansy, but even that friendship is spoiled when Countess Gemini, Osmond's sister, reveals the child's true parentage. Isabel finally breaks free of Osmond and returns to Ralph's bedside, where, while breathing his last, they ...Written by
Teresa B. <O'Donnell@worldnet.att.net>
I have always enjoyed period pieces, good adaptations even more so. This film, however, is really only worth a 5 - an average film - if not for the strong performances of the supporting cast. The work of Barbara Hershey and Martin Donovan in particular is stellar, raising my rating to 6 on their merit alone.
Aside from those two, this film is an exercise in 'almosts' and 'not quites'. It is almost engaging enough, yet just short of drawing me completely in. It not quite makes me believe Nicole Kidman's Isabel is worthy of the love of so many. The love shown by the suitors is believable enough (again, a well acted supporting cast), I simply do not quite believe the object of that love would elicit it.
Still, the film is good. It is a pity, though. It could have been great.
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