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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I want the bowl, without the crack."
A magnificent medieval bowl, created from a single perfect crystal, has, despite its appearance, a flaw--a crack which reduces its value. Henry James, author of the novel on which this Ruth Prawer Jhabvala screenplay is based, uses the gilded bowl as a metaphor for love and marriage, focusing on two couples, whose overlapping relationships and marriages prove to be as...
Published on 1 Dec 2004 by Mary Whipple

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed veneer of the filmed novel
The Golden Bowl perhaps sticks too literally to the form and structure of the novel at the expense of the human warmth and inner life of the characters subtly depicted by James.We get the characters mouthing lines of some well-rehearsed speech.We get the over-worked device of the bowl itself, planted,expository,contrived.taking the place of emotions working their way up...
Published 19 months ago by technoguy


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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I want the bowl, without the crack.", 1 Dec 2004
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
A magnificent medieval bowl, created from a single perfect crystal, has, despite its appearance, a flaw--a crack which reduces its value. Henry James, author of the novel on which this Ruth Prawer Jhabvala screenplay is based, uses the gilded bowl as a metaphor for love and marriage, focusing on two couples, whose overlapping relationships and marriages prove to be as fragile and damaged as the bowl. Produced by Merchant-Ivory and sumptuously filmed by Tony Pierce-Roberts on locations in Italy and England, the film brings the intensity of the psychological conflicts to life.
Italian Prince Amerigo (Jeremy Northam) is the impoverished owner of Palazzo Ugolini near Rome, unable to maintain the palace until, in 1903, he marries Maggie Verver (Kate Beckinsale), daughter of the first American billionaire, Adam Verver (Nick Nolte). The prince has previously had a secret affair with Charlotte Stant (Uma Thurman), a friend of Maggie. When Charlotte subsequently marries Adam, Maggie's father, both couples move to England, where three years later, Charlotte and Amerigo resume their passion.
The relationships among the four principals are explored with the same sophistication as in James's novel. Maggie's torment is fully revealed when she suspects an affair, and her determination to protect her father from this knowledge becomes an agonizing chore. Numerous symbols help to convey the trauma of the betrayal, from the history of the prince's castle, in which an ancestor found his young wife and his son in bed and executed them, to Maggie's dream of being imprisoned in a porcelain pagoda which has a crack.
Nolte shows surprising subtlety in his emotions as he suspects his wife's treachery, while Uma Thurman is passionate, reckless, and very seductive in her obsession with the prince. Northam explores the prince's character fully, moving from early passion for Charlotte to a more mature awareness of his love and respect for Maggie. Beckinsale, as the ingenuous Maggie, develops maturity and shows remarkable character as she works diligently to protect her marriage and her father. Supporting roles by Angelica Huston and Madeleine Potter further develop the psychological pressures by illustrating the characters' lives within the context of their frenetic, continental lifestyles.
Director James Ivory inserts old kinescope films and newspapers of turn-of-the-century America into the film to illustrate the on-going contrast between life in America and life in Europe, a constant James theme, as Verver builds his new American museum of European treasures. Lovers of Henry James will find this film faithful to James's intents, while those less enamored of his convoluted literary style may be inspired to read him because of the psychological sophistication of this plot--and this film. Mary Whipple
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81 of 87 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Riveting, 15 Jan 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Golden Bowl [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
If you like movies like “The remains of the day”, “The Scarlet Letter” or “Possession”, you gonna enjoy „The Golden Bowl” by James Ivory.
It tells the story of two impoverished lovers, Charlotte (played by Uma Thurman) and Amerigo, an Italian Prince (Jeremy Northam) who are marrying a rich American art collector (Nick Nolte) and his daughter Maggie (Kate Beckinsale). But since Maggie and her father have a very close bond, the former couple get to meet each other all the time and often are left alone by their spouses. Of course, their feelings cannot be kept hidden for long. Especially Charlotte can’t bear to be separated from her great love, Amerigo. The latter is torn between his young, innocent wife and the seducing Charlotte. He’s determined to make his marriage work and therefore struggles not to hurt Maggie, until, but already late in the story, he gives in to the passion that still binds him to Charlotte.
The movie is set against beautiful back-drops with a great love for details. Costumes, furniture, jewellery – everything is splendid and brilliantly recreates the fin de siècle atmosphere.
Concerning the cast, the greatest surprise for me was Nick Nolte, whom I never saw in such a role. He really gave an extraordinary performance as the paternal Maecenas, who is far too much in love with his old paintings than to satisfy the needs of Uma Thurman’s character, a vital, passionate young woman. Jeremy Northam is a convincing, elegant Italian aristocrat and intensely portraits Amerigo’s fight between the growing love for his wife and the charms of Charlotte, the respect for his father-in-law, the tender love for his little son. Uma Thurman is not only wonderful to see, but you can also feel her deep love for the prince and the pain she endures because of the separation.
The DVD provides some really good extra features like interviews with the cast and fully detailed biographies. Jeremy Northam comments he wishes the audiences to get involved in the unfolding of the characters instead of only following the plot and wondering what happens next. Thanks to the extremely talented cast, you get the chance to enjoy both.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars pleasant period drama, 4 Jan 2012
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This review is from: The Golden Bowl [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
I don't think that the Ivory Merchant movies reach a big audience.It is all about good acting, characters that come alive, an eye for detail.They are feel good movies and after watching them you are satisfied that you have enjoyed another little gem. The Golden Bowl fits my description, it is lovely and heartwarming.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex, fascinating and demanding!, 17 Jun 2014
By 
Adrian Drew (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: The Golden Bowl [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
This demanding adaptation of Henry James' most complex novel is not for everyone. However for fans of the author's allusive and illusive narrative it should provide great pleasure. The acting, direction, set designs and production values are all of the highest standards and the script is a masterpiece of concision and precision. Thoroughly recommended for those of you who like "literary" cinema at its finest. So don't expect "Die Hard" or it's ilk!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed veneer of the filmed novel, 17 April 2013
By 
technoguy "jack" (Rugby) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Golden Bowl [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
The Golden Bowl perhaps sticks too literally to the form and structure of the novel at the expense of the human warmth and inner life of the characters subtly depicted by James.We get the characters mouthing lines of some well-rehearsed speech.We get the over-worked device of the bowl itself, planted,expository,contrived.taking the place of emotions working their way up from the subconscious,lacking the necessary synergy,chemistry or subtext.We see the incestuous closeness between father and daughter Verver(Nolte and Beckinsdale) giving the adulterous lovers, Charlotte(Thurman)and Prince Amerigo(Northam)more chance to get together(more reason to).One feels a too conscious suspension of disbelief.It appears the Merchant/Ivory/Jhabvala team's passion for the high-culture sensibility of James as opposed to the cruder mass culture of today that has eclipsed it,have told them adapting a good/complex novel will make a good film.The tragedy of the story is too explicit,the screenplay voices feelings that remain unspoken in the novel,the hidden has turned into soap opera,thoughts translated into speech.In the film,unlike the novel,Charlotte takes centre stage.The plot takes 4 people,father,daughter of great wealth and takes two penniless lovers and combines them all in marriage.What the story is about is how not to hurt the other person, which proves very tricky due to the emotions of jealousy,the acts of adultery.Fanny(Huston) is the lynchpin holding it all together,a friend to all the protagonists,holding secrets of the former lovers against father and daughter.Though Maggie finds out Charlotte and Amerigo had once been in love through the gift of the Golden Bowl she purchases, Fanny breaks it,the flaw had been seen by Amerigo,making him reject it.Adam(Nolte) seems in the dark,giving no hint he knows of Charlotte's liaison,Amerigo stops seeing Charlotte.The fearless innocence of Maggie's youth reaches her Gethsemane while watching them all playing cards,divines their appeal to save them.Maggie confronts Charlotte,the uncaged beast,in her pride,with serenity, which Charlotte cannot provoke,Adam decides to return to America with Charlotte.

Nolte is fantastic as the gentleman,Beckinsdale(the book's protagonist)like a wounded dove, Northam,used to period drama gives a slightly machiavellian performance,Thurman seems so busy mouthing her lines robotically in a role Winslett or Blanchett would have acted better. Although it is carefully dressed with stunning locations (Italy, London, et al.) and gorgeous production values, none of this can quite conceal what is ultimately the somewhat tedious retelling of James' story of love,betrayal,and cracked veneers in a film of laborious pace.The film goesto Angelica Huston and Nick Nolte.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oh, what a tangled web ....., 19 Oct 2012
By 
Nostalgia (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Golden Bowl [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
I must admit that, after having watched this Edwardian costume drama, I am still a little undecided about it, having found the outcome to be not what I expected (not having read the book), but I still enjoyed the film. It is very well cast and presented and there are some breathtaking scenes shot both in Italy and in some of England's famous stately homes and mansions.
The plot essentially revolves around the lives of 4 people - Doting father (Adam), a widowed American tycoon; his devoted daughter (Maggie); her life-long friend (Charlotte) and an Italian prince (Amerigo) who marries Maggie. The marital/love lives of all of them become entangled through an on-going love affair which threatens everything and basically comes to light in consequence of a golden bowl purchased as a present from a London jeweller and which, significantly, turns out to be cracked.
I was half expecting the story to end as it began, rather violently, with history repeating itself, but not so, although this was by no means disappointing. Nevertheless, it is intriguing and well worth watching.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 9 July 2014
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This review is from: The Golden Bowl [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
Very good.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The plight of the penniless., 12 April 2013
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This review is from: The Golden Bowl [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
Merchant and Ivory almost always keep a very high standard, and this film is good, too. But it is uncomfortable from a modern point of view. The penniless spouses, the wife and husband of a very rich American father and daughter, are severely punished, when they try to rebel against a life completely at the beck and call fo their two rich spouses. It is taken for granted that the rich have the right to be autocratic, and that the penniless must obey abjectly. The betrayal of the cowed spouses in a rebellion against an intolerable situation, is condemned absolutely. One is glad to live in another world and time. Recommended to fans of period film, but be warned. No happy endings.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Golden Bowl, 10 Feb 2010
By 
G. Amis - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Golden Bowl [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
Visually beautiful, as would expect from Merchant Ivory and well acted. Had seen film years ago so knew the outcome - an interesting story but found it a bit slow - enjoyed it all the same.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 20 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Golden Bowl [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
the dvd was 100% Bestfilm ive seen in a long time
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The Golden Bowl [DVD] [2000]
The Golden Bowl [DVD] [2000] by James Ivory (DVD - 2002)
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