Customer Review

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb movie, 8 Aug 2009
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This review is from: A Room With A View (Special Edition) [DVD] (DVD)
This movie has always been a favourite. The production is sublime, beautiful and evocative of the novel.

Quite a few reviewers seem to have the knives out for Forster, saying that he is a has-been, overrated, irrelevant and so on, or that he was obsessed with the disparity between the classes. Well, I have read that novel at least three times over the years, and I see none of that. I see where they might get that impression, but in my view they are missing the real story and meaning. Forster was not obsessed with class in this novel - he was using it was a device in the plot - an obstacle in the path of true love, which may win through no matter how you fight it. Anyway, that's the novel, this is the movie...

The story follows the sexual awakening (or perhaps more accurately romantic awakening) of Lucy. On encountering the free-thinking Mr emerson and his son, George, her view of the world is challenged for the first time. However, the curious brooding and sudden wanton directness of George begins to unlock Lucy's passion - a passion hitherto revealed or vented only in her piano playing.

The story continues with the growing love between Lucy and George, which is hindered by Lucy's preconditioning to do, say and be the right thing. Her outward rage at George, and her eventual match with the incapable and conceited snob Cecil Vyse (the exact opposite of Lucy), sets up the conflict for the final part of the story.

Daniel Day-Lewis is tremendous as the awful Cecil. Anyone who has read the novel must surely see that Lewis has captured the character exactly. Helena Bonham Carter has received much flack for her acting in this movie, but to me she is utterly brilliant in the role. Her frowning discontent is palpable on the screen, and clearly shows her inner angst. This angst is, of course, at the hub of the story. Without it she is just a pretty girl discovering love. She is Lucy, just as Colin Firth is Mr Darcy. It is Helena's signature role, even if in later years she has tried to shake it off.

The homosexual elements, coded in mention of "A Shropshire Lad" and so on, as well as in the more obvious naked cavorting in the pond (the pond itself being a metaphor) give the movie another depth altogether. This is, of course, all in the novel, there to be detected by the knowing reader. This is another mark of the movie's subtelty and sensitivity to Forster's work.

If I have any criticism of the movie, it is that it misses out the chapters set in Rome (coming after Florence and before England). It may be that to appreciate the subtelty of the plot and its telling, one must have read the novel. There certainly is an advantage in having read it, but the movie holds up very well on its own terms.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Feb 2010 18:54:06 GMT
griffin says:
Great review. The actors are perfect in their roles. Every time I read the book, I can't help but picture Daniel Day-Lewis as Cecil.
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