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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary adaptation of Ms. Wharton's brilliant novel
Writer-director Terence Davies has done a superb job of adapting Edith Wharton's brilliant novel for the screen. Rarely deviating from the source, much of the dialogue is as Ms Wharton wrote it. Set in the Gilded Age of 1905 New York, the film portrays the closed, repressive society of the wealthy aristocracy at the dawn of the 20th century. It is also the story of the...
Published on 25 Aug. 2005 by Jana L. Perskie

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful film but too condensed
Our book club group watched this film having all loved Edith Wharton's book, and unfortunately we were disappointed with the adaptation. The film itself is visually great, sets, costumes and lighting all really good, though I think more could have been made of the scene between Lily and Selden in the garden- a key moment in the book and wonderfully described by Edith...
Published 9 months ago by Dayzee


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Requires attention and patience for viewing!, 14 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The House Of Mirth [DVD] (DVD)
For years I've been feeling deep respect and admiration towards Ms Anderson's acting talent (which, together with DD, still manages to pull out the half dead X-files). It is a pity and big loss to the movie industry that she's been chained to that TV-project for years and couldn't let her talent sparkle fully, until the House of Mirth. As you'll read about the content's of the movie above in the editorial review, I'd like to concentrate of Ms Anderson. First of all, she suits to the role perfectly, being the embodiment of women of that time, 1907. The hats and dresses (which she changes a lot), the manners, the looks seem to be created for her. The way Lily Barth lights a cigarette, moves her fan, steps down into a cab are a delight to watch. As to the story line of the movie, don't expect any nudity or action sequences: House of Mirth is even more slow-moving than Age of Innocence. The 100 years that elapsed make the gap in public opinion and morals evident: at the bottom of my heart I still can't understand why certain characters acted the way they did, those hollow facts that "compromised" Lily Barth in the eyes of that hypocritical and intrigue-spanning "society" make her tragedy for the modern viewer more palpable and incomprehensible. Lily herself is not only an innocent victim, she lives (at least the first half of the movie) in the stiff and artificial frames of the public morals, acts unprudently and hides her own feelings towards Lawrence (excellent performance by E Stolz). Their interplay creates special and rare moments of intimacy, otherwise alien to this bodice-tight movie.
True, I fidgeted in my arm-chair many times and even yawned, but had to watch how all this ends. And the ending left tears in my eyes and made me put 4 stars. I sincerely hope that G Andersen will finally unearth her talent and let it shine in many other genres, besides sci-fi.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best film I have seen this year, 19 April 2007
By 
CM Greenland (Polperro, Cornwall, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The House Of Mirth [DVD] (DVD)
Watched this film when it was recently shown on TV, it is by far the best film I have watched this year. Everything about it was brilliant, the very best period drama I have seen in many a year. Can't wait to buy it on DVD. And it inspired me to read the Edith Wharton book it was based on, which I also enjoyed (although enjoy is probably not the right word as it is anything but mirthful) which is all part of the irony; although Lily Bart was maybe a little gullible, you do really feel for her by the end of the film.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Film does the book justice, 27 Oct. 2010
This review is from: The House Of Mirth [DVD] (DVD)
This film was very agreeable to the book almost emotion by emotion, and anderson's performance was surprisingly riveting to me. I have found myself watching this movie over and over, finding additional things I love each time I watch. The sparse use of soundtrack (music) throughout also helps add to the tension needed for the story. Really an amazing production.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars splendid rendition of an ultimately moving tale, 25 Dec. 2008
By 
This review is from: The House Of Mirth [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
absolutely agree with previous reviewer (although I haven't read the book); excellent portrayal by Ms Anderson in a role which is, at once understated and yet also imperious; not enough good roles for women and stories about women in cinema - this goes some way to redressing the balance in my opinion; bravo Ms Anderson!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most depressing yet wonderful film I've ever seen, 14 July 2001
By A Customer
You really have to watch this twice because it may appear agonising and frustrating the first time and Lily Bart just might start to grate your nerves. But the second time you really appreciate the complete masterpiece of the film. The characterisation and acting are of high standard and Gillian Anderson is a relvelation as Lily Bart. The opportunity to watch this film is one that can't be missed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerising, thought provoking and visually wonderful, 11 Mar. 2011
This review is from: The House Of Mirth [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
As a fan both of Edith Wharton and of Gillian Anderson (especially after her extraordinary performance in Bleak House) I was amazed to be unaware of this wonderful film until this year. It was a joy to watch such a faithful interpretation of a great book.Gillian Anderson is a perfect Lily Bart, with a cool, poised beauty and rare ability to wear (and walk in) the wonderful gowns with a natural confidence.

The story is a complex one that stands the test of time - indeed just this week (8 March 2011) Rowan Pelling in the Daily Telegraph said, "If only Edith Wharton were alive to turn her gaze to the life of Ghislaine Maxwell. So many elements beloved of the Gilded Age novelist are apparent in this cautionary tale of a society girl's fall from grace. Of course, Ghislaine Maxwell would make a poor Lily Bart. The witty heroine of Wharton's 1905 masterpiece, The House of Mirth, looked so ravishing that the observer felt 'a great many dull and ugly people must, in some mysterious way, have been sacrificed to produce her.'"

The cinematography, screenplay, sound, sets and acting are all tremendous and the additional material about the amazing director Terence Davies are enlightening. This is a film that can be watched again and again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lily`s fall from grace, 26 Mar. 2014
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The House Of Mirth [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
Meet the upper classes of turn-of-the-century New York. You wouldn`t much want to, if this restrainedly enraged film from the Edith Wharton novel is anything to go by.
The year is around 1900, Lily Bart is looking for a good husband, and she is helped and hindered by various interested parties. She makes a couple of ill-advised decisions which lead to her tragic downfall. Plot-wise, that`s all you need to know, and all I`m prepared to divulge.
How anyone could fail to be completely enthralled by this tremendous cinematic triumph - which just happens to be a `period` film - is beyond me.
Gillian Anderson is simply stunning, in the role and performance of a lifetime as the outwardly strong yet vulnerable Lily. One hopes she is justifiably proud of her achievement. She is one of my favourite actresses (and I`ve never even seen The X Files) and here she`s note perfect in a difficult though beautifully written role. Her final scenes are heartbreaking.
There is also superb support from the smoothly rogueish Anthony La Paglia as a none too trustworthy suitor, Laura Linney as a catty fairweather friend, Eric Stoltz as another of Lily`s possible matches (and her one great love?), Elizabeth McGovern as a helpful true frend, and Dan Ayckroyd as an unmitigated cad. Eleanor Bron gives one of her best ever film portrayals, as Lily`s imperious aunt, while soulful Jodhi May registers strongly as the rather too gossipy young Grace.
Terence Davies directs with subtlety, loving care as to detail and nuance, and a storyteller`s eye and ear.
This wonderful film bombed on release, and reaped few if any awards, which boggles the mind since it is a masterpiece, no question of it. Those who`ve called it slow or boring - well, did you actually watch it, or merely see a few frames and decide there just weren`t enough explosions or sex scenes - there are none of either, I need hardly say, though there is plenty of repressed eroticism.
Gillian Anderson`s Lily is one of the great creations of contemporary cinema, and this film deserves to be seen by far more people.

Can`t be too highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, well-crafted film with good characteristation, 28 Feb. 2001
By 
This review is from: The House Of Mirth [DVD] (DVD)
I watched this film early morning (and felt very wicked)with another person who has not seen Terence Davies's work before but is an admirer of Gillian Anderson. The film was beautifully presented and well-crafted and Gillian Anderson (I don't watch X files) gave an engaging and wholly believable performance. Brought the book to life and made a difficult text accessible to younger viewers. This should be a classic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Beautiful And Mesmerising, 7 Jan. 2013
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The House Of Mirth [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
This 2000 film written and directed by Terence Davies (and based on the novel by Edith Wharton) represents, for me, a very rare thing - a totally compelling 'historical costume drama'. This film genre has of course been (very) common fare for cinema-goers over the years, to the extent that, for me, innovative (or outstanding) examples are rare - Barry Lyndon, The Leopard, Jude,... are a few that spring immediately to mind. With The House Of Mirth, Davies has created another such example. Indeed, from the film's brilliantly atmospheric opening shot of Lily Bart's silhouette (hat, umbrella, handbag), walking towards camera amidst the billowing steam clouds from an early 20th century train, the potential for another cinematic gem from Davies is apparent.

The nature of Davies' (and Wharton's) tale here is not exactly ground-breaking - a single woman in early 1900s New York high society ('Do you mind not being rich enough .... and having to work?') is spurned by her family, class and potential suitors, following a gambling habit and some misjudged romantic liaisons. However, Davies has once again demonstrated exquisite cinematic judgement in conjuring up what is a compelling visual and aural feast - eschewing the vignette-based approach he used for his masterpieces Distant Voices, Still Lives and The Long Day Closes, and instead reverting to more a traditional narrative approach, akin to (but far more effective than) that used in his more recent The Deep Blue Sea.

Of course, at the centre of Davies' film is a career-best (and revelatory) performance from Gillian Anderson as Lily. Her emotional range here is truly astonishing, from the initially self-confident 'woman about town' through to her confusion, dumbfoundedness and eventually devastating despair, accompanying her fall from grace, as she refuses to conform to the pretences of the prevailing society. Quite frankly it is a travesty of immense proportions that Anderson was not nominated for either an Oscar or a BAFTA for her performance - although she did win the British 'independent' film equivalent. Davies' script brilliantly captures the formality, emotional reservation and duplicity of the times, providing repeated opportunities for the actors to deliver studied expressions, carefully considered phrases and (for Anderson's Lily and Eric Stoltz's Lawrence Selden) lingeringly erotic kisses. In addition to Anderson's towering performance, the rest of the cast is pretty much uniformly excellent - Stoltz is particularly good and uncannily Colin Firth-like, Laura Linney is, as ever, reliable as the duplicitous Bertha Dorset, Anthony La Paglia again impressive as the sympathetic Sim Rosedale, veteran Eleanor Bron nicely officious as Lily's Aunt Julia and even the rather miscast Dan Ackroyd adds some lively distractions as the wealthy Gus Trenor (although I did keep expecting him to suddenly burst out with, 'It's dark.... and we're wearing sunglasses...').

Indeed, even though The House Of Mirth could be regarded as being more conventional than other Davies films, stylistically, it is still recognisably his. There are a number of trademark slow camera pans - a particularly exquisite example being that across the reclining Bertha, husband George Dorset (Terry Kinney) and then Lily, with the Mediterranean lapping in the background, and a second example (towards the end of the film) capturing Lily slumped desolately across her bed. The film's overall effect is capped by Davies' perfectly judged and sparse use of music throughout, featuring works by Haydn, Mozart Rossini, Borodin and Morton Feldman.

When considering this film, it is difficult to get away Anderson's magnificent central performance, however, Davies (of course) also deserves huge credit. I can only concur with The Sunday Times blurb on the DVD cover, 'This film is a masterpiece'.

As DVD extras there is an interesting 'making of' featurette, interviews with cast and crew, a number of deleted scenes and a director's commentary.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cut Dead, 22 May 2008
By 
Ian Millard - See all my reviews
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This is an adaptation of a novel by the American heiress and novelist Edith Wharton. The story is of a young lady in New York just after the end of the Victorian Age (which term is correct here even though the action is all set in the USA); the film ends in 1907. She acts with honour, but her "friends" and family do not and she is gradually reduced to lower and lower levels of employment as her "expectations" of inheritance and marriage fall through one by one.

I looked carefully to see where the film was filmed, because some locations looked a bit like Wharton's own country house on the New York State-Massachusetts border (near Lennox), which I visited many years ago (an extraordinary creation, like a French manoir one side and a grander 18th Century French house on the other!). But no, the filming was in several places, including in country houses and in cities (eg Glasgow, it seems) in both Scotland and England. The film was nominated for Best English Film for a BAFTA.

The film starts off ultra-stagy, like an adaptation of Oscar Wilde in terms of dialogue. I nearly just ended it there, but stuck with it and, indeed, it does improve hugely by the end. Worth seeing.
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The House Of Mirth [DVD] [2000]
The House Of Mirth [DVD] [2000] by Terence Davies (DVD - 2007)
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