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4.6 out of 5 stars84
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 19 July 2004
Sadly, there are many occasions on which well-meaning film-makers have quite frankly butchered good books, where their metamorphosis onto the big screen has not gone smoothly. I must say, however, that James Ivorys' adaptation of E.M Forsters' classic novel, Maurice, is a welcome exception.
Ivory captures the essence of this book superbly, in terms of character, dialogue and fundamentals such as plot, which is largely in keeping with the original story-line. Where it differs, it does so effectively and plausibly, and this does not detract from the sense of its over-all loyalty to the novel.
Splendid acting is in evidence throughout from James Wilby and Hugh Grant, as well as Rupert
Graves and a good supporting cast. Wilby portrays the conflicted eponymous hero impressively, moving smoothly through a range of emotions, from moments of exuberance, uncertainty and tourtured insecurity.
Although the crucial theme of Maurice is homosexuality in an age which criminalized it, other issues such as social class, individuality/conformity and love mean that it is compelling on other levels too, making it an all-round joy of pre-World War One drama, in which innocence and idealism are still largely possible.
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on 10 September 2009
"Maurice" is a great movie dealing with homosexuality and class distinction in the early 20th century. It has a lot of beautiful scenes, although they could've made it a bit shorter.

I've wanted to buy this film on DVD for ages but I must say I'm really disappointed with this certain edition (Merchant Ivory Collection). It has a lot of nice extra features, but it lacks subtitles entirely. Not even the main feature has subtitles to offer. I can't understand why one chooses to release a classic like this without it. For us who are deaf or hard-of-hearing or other neurological difficulties, it's important to know before buying. Now I have to supplement my collection with the other version too: Maurice [DVD] [1987]
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VINE VOICEon 12 November 2003
I feel a bit cheesy for using that title, but I can't think of anything better. This is a love-story. Understandably, because of the gay content, it is also very political, but if you can step aside from all that you will enjoy it's true heart so much better. This is what I am sure E M Forster intended. He wasn't into making big political statements, if he was he would have have done as his friends urged him to, and had the novel published when homosexuality was legalised in 1967. (Instead it wasn't published in his lifetime. Although he wrote it way back in 1913 he didn't want to shock his mother). But there is no doubt to my mind that Forster was an incurable romantic, "A Room With A View" should prove that, and if "Maurice" was about a star-crossed man-woman relationship as that one was, we wouldn't be in any doubt that we were in Romance with a big R territory.
Maurice (played absolutely superbly by James Wilby) is a young upper-class Edwardian, constantly fighting his own inner demons about his sexuality. Whilst at Cambridge he forms an intense attachment to a fellow student, Clive, (Hugh Grant, again brilliantly acted). When a mutual friend is imprisoned with hard labour for soliciting a soldier outside a pub, Clive gets the jitters and backs off, retreating into starchy middle-class married respectability. Maurice meanwhile goes the rounds of doctors and psychiatrists, trying to find out if he can be "cured". During a weekend visit to Clive's country house he meets Alec Scudder, Clive's rather rough-and-ready gamekeeper. I know what you're thinking, gay version of "Lady Chatterley's Lover"! But I think, with all respect to D H Lawrence, this is better. Yes, Alec does break down Maurice's stuffy reserves, but what emerges is an incredibly touching and tender tale, as Maurice realises he is prepared to risk public censure and disgrace to hang onto his chance of love. Aside from the gay issues, I can also read the prejudices raised by the Edwardian class barrier in this. Maurice would have suffered the same shock horror! treatment from his own circle if Alec had been a working-class girl. Added to all the fine acting, (also very touching is Billie Whitelaw as Maurice's mother) is the undoubted fact that Rupert Graves is VERY sexy as Alec!
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VINE VOICEon 3 June 2008
Over twenty years after it was made "Maurice" has changed into a classic but did not age at all. This coming-of-age and coming-to-terms story faithfully taken from E. M. Forster's novel was transferred into the screen with such adroitness that with the passage of time it rather increases its appeal.
We are transferred to the Edwardian England some years before the outbreak of the Great War. The main hero Maurice is an average student (it is funny to note that everybody including Maurice considers his studies a commendable pastime but generally a waste of time as he should go into business) who falls for a fellow student, an impoverished aristocrat Clive. Their romance is purely platonic which seems to suit Clive (who finally decides to change his minds and gets married which puts an end to their little fling) survives their Cambridge period but is clearly insufficient for Maurice. After failed attempts to cure himself of his illness (both medicine and hypnosis are used) he visits Clive in his estate and falls in love again - this time for a game-keeper. This love is consummated and provides an opening for a happy ending which neither Forster nor the movie does not really offer.
The movie tells this story rather slowly, indulging in beautiful landscapes and period interiors, but one can hardly mind. It is simply a great movie with very decent performance from the cast - including Hugh Grant with a moustache.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 15 February 2012
Every time I watch Maurice I fall in love with it afresh, it is so full of feeling, and the ending goes against everything one might expect. I watched several Merchant Ivory films but this is the one that stands out for me. The fact that it broaches a taboo subject for the time it is set in gives it just the edge the beautifully detailed, well-upholstered style needs to take flight, standing as it does in some conflict with it. We enjoy the material world it shows, and the style of the section shot in Cambridge, for instance, but also realise it isn't going to make Maurice happy. The success of the film hangs on its three male leads, really, with James Wilby giving a particularly stunning performance as the hero, heroic for his honesty and sincerity of feeling. You so want him to break away from the stifling influences of those around him, and the appearance of Scudder has real magic. The scene where he introduces him to his old teacher in the museum has something totally fantastic, a mystery that makes it a great scene in British cinema for me. The same holds true for the scene when Scudder breaks into his bedroom - it was one of those moments of my youthful cinema-going that I shall never forget! I love the way it suggests that love knows no bounds, and the final moments of the film are amazing, of course not without their ambiguity, but leaving you walking on air nonetheless!
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on 16 September 2006
One of the other reviewers of this film mentioned that this was important to them when they were struugling with issues relating to their own sexuality. I too have a belief that most lesbian and gay people have either a film or a book that is important to them in their formative 'coming out' stages - Maurice was mine. I sneaked into a late night showing in central London with the woman who was, and still is my best friend: and at that time there was no way it was going to be screened in working class South London where we were from.

Essentially the film covers the gradual 'awakening' of Maurice (played by James Wilby) to his true - gay - self starting in his late teenage years and ending sometime one supposes in his mid-twenties. Maurice is from an upper-middle class family and is exposed to all the privileges that go with being from that background. At university he meets Clive (Hugh Grant), an intense, intelligent and handsome young man from the landed gentry. After a few clumsy blunders and misunderstandings the two embark upon a secret relationship (well it has to be). Clive though is unwilling to partake in a sexual aspect to the relationship - thinking that it would 'bring them down'.

After several years of a close, but sexually unfulfilling relationship a mutual aquaintance of Maurice and Clive is caught soliciting a soldier outside a pub. At the subsequent trial he is essentially stripped of the reputation, career and status he enjoyed as a member of the upper class. This is a turning point in the relationship between Maurice and Clive, and Clive calls an end to the relationship in a particularly emotional sequence. Maurice gets on with life, existing from a day to day level, but emotionally his life is barren.

Sometime later - one assumes a year or two has passed with no contact, Maurice receives a phone call from Clive who has an announcement to make. Clive and Maurice are reunited - platonically - but not reconciled. While staying at Clive's country estate he meets Alec Scudder, the under-gamekeeper, a bit of rural, working-class, rough trade who fulfills Maurice in the way Clive never did. The remainder of the film deals with Maurice and Clive dealing with new states of affairs and has as much to do with issues of classism as it does with homosexuality.

The ending scene of the film for me is the most powerful - combined with the evocative music and the symbolic closing of the shutter windows it is very movingly done and always brings a lump to my throat whenever I watch it. Clive and Maurice bring a finality to their relationship at all levels, neither seems happy or satisfied, it seems that happiness for both hangs by a thread. Clive has sacrificed complete fulfillment in order to safeguard his position and wealth, Maurice has sacrificed position and wealth in order for a fulfilling relationship.

Rent it, buy it, watch it once every 5 years or so when it appears on Channel 4. You may find it refreshing to see gay men who are not drag queens or dying of and HIV related illness or drugged-up, club bunnies.
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on 29 January 2012
I think everyones reviews sum up very nicely how good this film is. I can only agree but wanted to add my review as this is one of my favourite films. I saw it first on Film4 on channel four when they used to show brilliant films such as this as a regular occurance. Takes me back to my mid teens when I'd watch everyone of them. Maurice particularly grabbed me and yes I did and still have a thing for Rupert Graves who plays Alec Scudder, but the whole way the film approaches the subject of homosexuality in Edwardian times, is done exceptionally well and with a thorough understanding of how on the edge it must have been then to be gay. I love the way we get to see Maurice getting to understand how he feels and in the end accepting he loves Scudder and able to tell Clive this with no shame or fear, which shows how far he comes in understanding how he feels and who he is. I love the ending to this, you would imagine considering how awful anyone who was gay was treated then, they'd have a doom and gloom ending, but nope, we get the perfect ending. The actors all play their parts brilliantly and although maybe a tad long, I watched this film so many times, I still love it to this day! This is one of the best and I say this as a straight female! A truly exceptional film.
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VINE VOICEon 3 June 2008
Over twenty years after it was made "Maurice" has changed into a classic but did not age at all. This coming-of-age and coming-to-terms story faithfully taken from E. M. Forster's novel was transferred into the screen with such adroitness that with the passage of time it rather increases its appeal.
We are transferred to the Edwardian England some years before the outbreak of the Great War. The main hero Maurice is an average student (it is funny to note that everybody including Maurice considers his studies a commendable pastime but generally a waste of time as he should go into business) who falls for a fellow student, an impoverished aristocrat Clive. Their romance is purely platonic which seems to suit Clive (who finally decides to change his minds and gets married which puts an end to their little fling) survives their Cambridge period but is clearly insufficient for Maurice. After failed attempts to cure himself of his illness (both medicine and hypnosis are used) he visits Clive in his estate and falls in love again - this time for a game-keeper. This love is consummated and provides an opening for a happy ending which neither Forster nor the movie actually offers.
The movie tells this story rather slowly, indulging in beautiful landscapes and period interiors, but one can hardly mind. It is simply a great movie with very decent performance from the cast - including Hugh Grant with a moustache.
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on 15 May 2014
Beautiful love story, not read the book but will be doing so after watching this. Some lovely scenery, shots of Wiltshire and Cambridge. Thank goodness times have changed and homosexuality is no longer stigmatised (for the most part!). Really enjoyable film, characters come across well and are easy to empathise with. Oh watch out for the uncredited brief glimpse of Helena Bonham Carter at the cricket match if you are a fan of hers!
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on 17 October 2008
I remember I saw this movie I was about 17. I'd read the book and fell in love. It tells a love story between two men and the way they have to carry it out despite society rules (with some changes it still happens nowadays...).

The general message would be "love conquers all" but is it really so? Are Maurice and Scudder able to live happily ever after? I doubt, and on the beginning of the XXth century it would be even worse.

Despite all, it's lovely to watch the same kind of story we're used to watching in movies that portray society in different times, but now speaking about love between men! Although James Ivory's work is beyond criticism, in my point a view, there were some scenes in the book (the one when they are in London, sitting naked by the fire, for instance) that really should be in the movie.

But it's a tender and romantic approach of of book (only published after E.M. Foster's death) that surely would have pleased it's author.
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