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Still glorious in the Happier Year
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.