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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
33
3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 18 July 2010
I remember reading and enjoying the novel some 30 years ago and, personally having something of a Forster renaissance, it prompted me to acquire this film - (however though you get his stories and social criticism in the films you do lose out on his wonderful language of course).
I didn't see this film when it came out (don't know why) whereas have seen all the others, so wondered if this was a dud. Quite the opposite. According to the Radio Times Guide to Films Directory the film was made by the same team that made Brideshead, which is high recommendation indeed. Directed by Charles Sturridge the cast are magnificent & almost perfect: Helen Mirren, Judy Davis, Rupert Graves, Barbara Jefford and an aptly cast Giovanni Guidelli, as beautiful and Italian as his character should be. Helena Bonham Carter plays Miss Abbott: initially appearing too young and too pretty for this classic English spinster. But this wasn't a bit of type casting and she executes her role with great passion and conviction. It is a classic Forster tale about the narrowness and brittle fragility of the English Middle Classes at the beginning of the 20th century and how destructive their power can be. A sad little tragedy, beautifully filmed. I highly recommend it.

IM
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on 24 November 2015
Had to study E. M. Forster at school and found this to be my absolute favourite of the E.M. Forster novels I have read! Didn't know it was his first novel... cheapest edition around!
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on 31 March 2015
PERFECT
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on 18 May 2017
Read book as part of my English exam.
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VINE VOICEon 19 January 2008
Fans of the better known "Forsters" such as Maurice, A Room with a View, the works of Merchant and Ivory, and fairly similar A Passage to India, may be quite disappointed with this much more quiet and less colourful production. The story-line also offers less of a twist - this is EM Forster's first novel and he was still learning his trade. Still the movie is well worth seeing - the story and the beautiful images in dusky sepias as if taken from old photographs will keep enthralled you in front of the telly if only you can accept that the world changed immensely within the last century. A big bonus is a chance to see world-famous actors in roles not exactly identical with their current careers.
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on 25 September 2014
It is interesting to watch old films specially when the stars of then are now very famous and well known by everyone. The premise of the story is a simple one: older woman marries much younger man. Of course, now it is something that you read in the papers every day. In the period the story takes place it was unthinkable specially since the woman was English and the young man Italian. She has a child and dies in childbirth and the members of her family come to Italy to take the baby away. The acting is very good and so is the story with a special touch here and there unexpected. As I said, it is nothing new today,but then, if it was based on a true story, it was really a very strange and interesting situation. Well done!
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on 29 April 2017
I wish people would be honest and just say when something is really terrible. I love E M Forster's novels and admire the other work of the actors involved in this, but let's be truthful here - this film is awful and should never have seen the light of day.
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on 11 June 2015
No subtitles: impossible for me to follow the spoken text.
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on 13 November 2010
As other reviewers on Amazon have noted, it is significant that the story is mainly set in Italy, being the first country one comes to from the UK which has no northern exposure (unlike even Spain and Portugal). This transalpine quality was of enormous attractiveness to the 19th and early 20th C people who could afford to go there. Well-known literary examples would be, from England, Shelley and, from Germany, Goethe and Schiller. The sun and freedom might be as much perceived as real (thinking of the rainswept Italian winters etc), but psychologically at least, the reality was there, now displaced by further shores (see, eg, The Beach etc...)

I do not want to spoil the story by detailing it too much, but suffice to say that a still-youthful widow (Helen Mirren) leaves for freedom and sun in a small town in Northern Italy (I did not see exactly but think Tuscany, judging by the shots of Florence/Firenze). She marries a much younger and impecunious Italian dentist, then dies, leaving a baby. The horrid (obviously meant to be repressed, power-seeking etc) English in-laws think the baby should be, so to speak, beaten into becoming an "English gentleman" and cannot see that the Italian father could possibly object to selling his baby, more or less.

The film is dramatic, beautifully acted and filmed but, to my mind has the one flaw that, in the last say 15 mins of the story, the people concerned seem to act in a way that, to me, did not ring true emotionally or psychologically. Well, I may be wrong and I would not want to put anyone off seeing the film because of that.

Recommended.
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on 13 July 2006
This may be E.M. Forster's first novel but it is a faithful adaptation and a very fine film. I don't see what others finding lacking in this excellent motion picture. The cast works marvelously together. Helena Bonham Carter gives a very superb performance acting against her usual more glamourous roles. Rupert Graves and Judy Davis are excellent as the son and daughter of the great Barbara Jefford who is extremely memorable as the manipulating mother-in-law of Helen Mirren. Judy Davis is extraordinary as a mirror image of Barbara Jefford without the latter's cunning devices.

The story is captivating and the scenes, costumes and direction are all first rate. I find that this film is of great quality and belongs perfectly well with the other E.M. Forster adaptations. Perhaps some are biased because this isn't marked Ivory Merchant? I wouldn't know that it wasn't Ivory Merchant. It is of equal quality. The direction, script, and actors make this story very plausible. It would have been a greater box office success but it was not publisied as much as "Howard's End". I still find it a superb film and highly recommend it.
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