A Room With a View

Dir: James Ivory. 1986. Starring: Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Daniel Day Lewis, Helena Bonham Carter. English. Drama
A Room With a View

There has never been a more perfect film than Merchant Ivory's lush and lavish, A Room with a View. Visually it offers more than a simple view; instead there is a grandiose explosion of natural and cultural beauty traveling from the historical vistas of Florence to the opulence of the English countryside. Adapted with wit and wisdom from E.M. Forster's novel of the same name, A Room with a View explores the mingling of Britain's emerging middle class with the slowly dying aristocracy during the picturesque Edwardian Age. Similar in theme, adaptation and age to the tragically redeeming Howard's End, View tenders a gentler more fairy tale touch.

Filled with immortal performances by actors who would soon dominate the cast of truly great films for the next twenty years and counting, we are treated to study after study of the pomposity and passion in human nature. Romance, humor and a sensitivity to our frailties permeate every frame. Whether it is a bloody crime of passion between unknown but unforgettable Italians in the square, the giggling girlish adventures of two aged maidens in a foreign city, a kiss among poppies (that might just be the best kiss in cinematic history) or the heartbreaking politeness of a rejected suitor in a drawing room each moment is filled with timeless, laughable, lovable humanity.

E.M. Forster was a favorite author of Merchant Ivory Productions and I can recommend each adaptation as wonderful introductions to a writer who seemed to truly believe in the power and potential of the lower classes as he witnessed their awkward first steps into education, culture, stability and material luxuries. If you are at all interested in the social and economic changes at the turn of the last century E.M. Forster is a wonderful guide. If you simply want a deliciously delightful escape, A Room with a View is an inspiration.


A Room With a View won 3 Oscars:  Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, and Best Costume Design. It was nominated for 5 additional Oscars including Best Director, Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Denholm Elliott), and Best Supporting Actress (Maggie Smith). 

Posted by:
Jessica Kaman
Mar 23, 2008 3:46pm
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