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.
In a Florence pensione circa 1900 with English guests, George Emerson (Julian Sands) and his dad (Denholm Elliott) offer their rooms with views to Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) and her chaperone, Charlotte Bartlett (Dame Maggie Smith). Lucy and George get acquainted, but Lucy returns to England. George and Lucy meet again, but now she's engaged.
Helena Bonham Carter,
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.
When a man and woman flirt with each other at a wedding reception, the sexual tension seems spontaneous. As they break from the party to a hotel room, the flirtation turns into a night filled with passion and remorse.
Helena Bonham Carter,
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 Theale), 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 paintings Milly Theale (Alison Elliott) sees in the gallery with Merton Densher (Linus Roache) and Kate Croy (Helena Bonham Carter) are Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss" (1907), and Klimt's "Danae" (1907). See more »
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 »
In this most affecting adaptation of Henry James's dense and difficult novel, Ian Softley brings passion back to the oft-derided genre of "period" movie. There are many angles in the story; tales of deception, social hypocrisy, conflict between our hearts' desire and our conscience, of regrets, and some degree, of just deserts. However, in the heart of it lies an unforgettable love triangle, fuelled by the amazing performances of the three leads. Helena Bohnam-Carter, in the pinnacle of her career, embodies the fierce intelligence and ruthless determination of Kate Croy, a woman born in a wrong era, whose effort to hold on to both love and wealth tragically backfires. Linus Roache, playing Kate's secret love, brings tortured Merton Densher (where does James come up with these names?) vividly to life. He has the sort of intense good looks and physical presence required for this role in spades; and his dramatic ability shines though, especially in his last scene with Millie, where he acknowledges his duplicity before the all-accepting love of the dying girl with an incredible raw emotionality. I was most impressed with Allison Elliot's Millie, however. The angelic Millie could have been a big cliché of a character, but in Elliot's skillful hands, Millie takes on the luminance of spirits and love of life that grow even as her physical strength fails. The story and the actors are tremendously aided by gorgeous cinematography (especially the mournful beauty of rain-soaked Venice) , costumes-to-die-for by Sandy Powell (who wore that fabulous red dress to this year's Oscar, accepting the award for "Shakespeare in Love". She should have won it for this film), and beautiful music. A movie to be watched in a dark rainy afternoon, and savored like fine wine.
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