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.
Kate Croy's (Helena Bonham Carter's) mother was born to wealth and privilege, but she threw it all away to marry Kate's Father (Sir Michael Gambon), a penniless opium addict who admits to having stolen from his wife. After her mother's death, Kate is offered an opportunity to return to the life her mother gave up. There is one condition, however: Kate must sever all of her old ties, not only to her father, but also to her lover, the muck-raking journalist Merton Densher (Linus Roache), whom she has promised marriage. Kate reluctantly agrees to this, and in the meantime becomes friendly with "the world's richest orphan", Milly Theale (Alison Elliott), an American making the Grand Tour. Desperate to see Kate, Merton crashes a party that she and Milly are attending, and Milly is attracted to him. When Kate learns that Milly is dying, she comes up with a plan to have her cake and eat it too, but all does not go as planned.Written by
The tile pattern on the Underground stations the train passes through at the beginning of the film are identical in pattern and color for each station. Each station on the Piccadilly line had its own tile pattern and color scheme so that the illiterate could still recognize their station without needing to read the station name. See more »
And I said, 'Oh, that I had wings like a dove for then I would fly away and be at rest.'
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This is one of my favorite films of the 90's. Great cast, fantastic screenplay, simply an incredible telling of a compelling story. The movie moves along in organic fashion, never feeling contrived or manipulative (probably because the story comes from a good novelist). The characters are well developed and make the choices you believe these characters would make. Helena Bonham Carter, Linus Roach and Allison Elliot are all excellent, and Charlotte Rampling is always good. I also like the contrast set up with the dreary English settings vs. the romantic and elegant Venetion scenes. I think this movie is vastly underrated and should be seen by any serious film fan.
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