A Room with a View is E.M. Forster's most optimistic and romantic novel. Davies' adaption, sadly, manages to ignore both these elements. It is neither optimistic nor romantic. The first is a failure in structure, the second a failure in characterisation.
Davies' script is structured around Lucy's return to Florence, years after her first visit when she met the love of her life, George Emmerson. This story, the romantic backbone of the book, is told in flashback. The ending is out of place and depressing. Instead of the optimism Forster initially intended, we are left feeling melancholy and empty.
Also I failed to empathise fully with any of the characters. Generally it was well acted, but I felt that the cast were not giving one hundred percent and not emotionally engaging with the characters as envisaged by Forster. Elaine Cassidy was good as Lucy, but her portrayal was not as good or as convincing as Helena Bonham-Carter's. Timothy Spall was particularly disappointing, as was Sophie Thompson, two character actors who I normally admire very much. And the contrasts between the liberated George and the repressed Cecil were simply not well drawn - in many ways they were too alike.
One scene that was particularly badly done was the bathing scene at the magic lake. In the original film, this scene is charged with homoeroticism and does not shy away from male nudity. In contrast, there is a prudishness to the Davies' version, surprising for a writer who usually extracts every ounce of sexuality from a story.
All and all, a disappointment. Not bad, just not as good as it could have been, and poor in comparison to the peerless 1985 original.