A little seen drama based on real events set in the early decades of the 20th century, Emma Thompson characterised the artist Dora Carrington as a woman of unsatisfactorily entangled romantic relationships who only ever found real love once. Unhappily that love, though passionately returned, could never be complete, for the object of her heart was the homosexual writer, Lytton Strachey. Christopher Hampton's film is a quintessentially English affair, in which much of the depth of feeling between the platonic lovers is communicated by Michael Nyman's superb score. Nyman offers the propulsive string figures familiar from his work on such Peter Greenaway dramas as The Draughtsman's Contract
, now tempered by the more romantic and melodic sensibility he brought to The Piano
. There are four musical portraits of the other men in Carrington's life, while, at Christopher Hampton's request, five pieces, including the intensely moving nine-minute opening "Outside Looking In", are derived from the composer's String Quartet No. 3. Carrington
is an emotionally gripping score which rewards close attention. Michael Nyman has also composed memorable scores for Gattaca
. --Gary S. Dalkin
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