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The early days of the women's moment.
on 12 April 2013
When one reads the book, on which the film is based, it is quite clear that Henry James disliked and felt threatened by the women's movement, and he sets out to let his conservative Southern hero be victorious in the battle about the body and soul of a young girl. At this time Boston marriages were becoming fairly common: Unmarried women setting up house together as an alternative to marriage.
The film is quite fair in its representation of both the wealthy middle-aged spinster and the poverty-stricken young lawyer, who fight over the girl, a charming and gifted young woman. The film shows quite deftly, as Merchant/.Ivory often do, the role played by power and money in the marriage game. The spinster realises that the girl will probably have to marry someone, and makes a bargain with another wealthy lady, who har an eligible son.
In the end love wins, though, as it must with two such passionate protagonists. Happy ending? Questionable.
A llife of poverty versus a life in comfortable circumstances with a doting husband quite willing to let his wife carry on with her work in the women's movement.
A film for fans of Merchant/Ivory films and for those interested in the women's movement.