This fictionalized story, based on the family life of writer James Jones, is an emotionless slice-of-life story. Jones here is portrayed as Bill Willis, a former war hero and now successful... See full summary »
Set in 1930s Shanghai, where a blind American diplomat develops a curious relationship with a young Russian refugee who works odd -- and sometimes illicit -- jobs to support members of her dead husband's aristocratic family.
Anne is investigating the life of her grand-aunt Olivia, whose destiny has always been shrouded with scandal. The search leads back to the early 1920s, when Olivia, recently married to ... See full summary »
One of the obsessive speculations in American history is whether Thomas Jefferson, in the years before he became president, had an affair with (and fathered a child with) his 15-year-old ... See full summary »
It's the mid-nineteenth century. Adult siblings Felix Young and Eugenia Munster were born and raised in Europe and have a somewhat bohemian lifestyle reflective of their travels throughout ... See full summary »
While restoring an old painting showing a woman and two men playing chess, Julia discovers the text "Who killed the knight" underneath the paint. The owner of the painting tells her that ... See full summary »
This re-telling of Hamlet goes back to the original Danish source material. The opening scenario remains the same: Hamlet's father murdered by his brother who then weds the widowed mother. ... See full summary »
When Marie-Louise goes to meet her lover Jean-Paul, who is arriving in Paris on his military leave, she goes to the wrong train station. Marie-Louise and Jean-Paul spend the next 24 hours running around the city looking for each other.
Adam Verver, a US billionaire in London, dotes on daughter Maggie, an innocent abroad. An impecunious Italian, Prince Amerigo, marries her even though her best friend, Charlotte Stant, an alabaster beauty with brains, no money, and a practical and romantic nature, is his lover. She and Amerigo keep it secret from Maggie that they know each other, so Maggie interests her widowed father in Charlotte, who is happy with the match because she wants to be close to Amerigo. Charlotte desires him, the lovers risk discovery, Amerigo longs for Italy, Maggie wants to spare her father pain, and Adam wants to return to America to build a museum. Amidst lies and artifice, what fate awaits adulterers?Written by
When the merchant delivers the golden bowl to Charlotte, he examines two pictures on the table behind the sofa. As he sets them down, the one on the right (seen from behind it) is placed so that it scrunches up the cloth runner. After Charlotte arrives, and he is explaining the coincidence of the subject couple asking about the bowl, the picture is seen again (from the front) and the cloth runner is smooth, as if recently ironed. See more »
What is it you want from me?
I want a happiness without a hole in it! I want the bowl without the crack!
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grateful thanks to Lord Tollemache and family; Frances, Duchess of Rutland; The Duke of Northumberland See more »
The best Merchant Ivory so far, and ideal film material.
The story is engrossing and perceptive, dealing with human relationships in all their forms. It takes a hard and frank look at the motivation behind several different relationships, which varies from selfishness, loneliness and boredom to love of the deepest kind. The film makes you wonder how and why we choose our friends.
Personally, I found the acting and direction superb, apart from a couple of flat speeches by Kate Beckinsale (whose accent also varied quite a bit). Unfortunately one of these comes in the scene where her character is introduced, which may have put some people off this film at an early stage (there are a lot of negative comments on here!). The rest of the cast are superb, especially Uma Thurman who is mastering the art of conveying a lot of meaning with just a single look. Tension builds up throughout and is skillfully maintained right until the end.
It is, of course, a film that you need to see on a big screen as part of the point of a Merchant Ivory production is the exquisite detail that goes into getting the costumes and locations just right. Even more so than in their past productions, a huge amount of effort has been spent here.
One thing I found is that the characters felt fairly isolated: most of the time, you just saw the leading characters in a scene on their own and, apart from a couple of party scenes, there was not much attempt to show the society in which they lived; also there were few exterior shots in the cities. It may be that that was quite deliberate, to show that these incredibly wealthy people lived very insular lives.
26 of 35 people found this review helpful.
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