For Reel

A Room with a View (1985)
March 2, 2012, 7:31 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: James Ivory

The production team of director James Ivory, producer Ismail Merchant, and writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala found their first mainstream success with A Room with a View in 1985. Shedding the oft-criticized stuffiness of their previous efforts, it is a picture about the throws of passion, told with a light-hearted buoyancy and even, memorably, a remarkably strange bathing sequence between three very naked gentlemen. The impressive ensemble includes Helena Bonham Carter in the starring role, who is quite good as the dissatisfied young woman torn between Victorian manners and something more progressively romantic, and Daniel Day-Lewis, who brings so much to what is little more than a prig on the page, making Cecil perhaps the most complex and tragic figure of the picture. Where the production fails, however, is in the casting of Julian Sands as George Emerson, who is meant to be a manifestation of a sexualized free-spirit. On the page, he is not so much a character as an idea, and Sands fails the crucial role by not being, well, passionate enough. But, a las, few could come off as satisfyingly dreamy when they’re occupying the same screen as the splendors of Florence.

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