Is there anything more romantic than the 1985 classic adaptation of E.M. Forster’s A Room With A View?
Merchant-Ivory’s adaptation of E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View is one of those rare and beautiful gems that capture the essence of a classic novel effortlessly and is most assuredly a brilliant work of art.
The operatic tone, in the beginning, sets the stage as a window opens up to a weak view of Italy, the window undone by our repressed heroine Lucy. This choice says it all, and by the time the film closes, everything about this sumptuous, quiet, and stunning movie reminds us why period dramas can be both elegant and romantic at the same time.
The story follows Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) and her chaperone Charlotte (Maggie Smith) who both end up in Florence, Italy without a view. This is, of course, a disaster of epic proportions for Charlotte (Maggie Smith playing this part with likable wit), so a kind gentleman and his son offer to trade rooms. But in meeting Mr. Emerson and his eccentric son George, everything changes for this proper young lady, beginning the untangling of a stifled woman caught up in society’s chains.
After an ‘improper’ moment between George and Lucy (though everyone watching will feel quite the opposite), Charlotte and Lucy leave Italy abruptly. Soon, Lucy becomes engaged to the pompous and priggish Cecil and returns home to England. There, she returns to a huge surprise: the Emersons have moved into town! Coming face to face with a man who offers a vastly different existence from the Edwardian snobbishness, Lucy must choose between customs and her heart.
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Truly, A Room with a View’s cast is a cast of champions. Aside from a very young Helena Bonham Carter (before she played every strange character available) and the always entertaining and marvelous Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey and Harry Potter), we have Judi Dench as the hilarious novelist who turns her knowledge of Lucy and George’s story into a fictional romance. Then there’s Daniel Day-Lewis (Last of the Mohicans) as the horribly stuffy and passionless fiancé of Lucy and Julian Sands as the strange, yet romantic George. You really will never find a better cast than this!’
Aside from the cast, director James Ivory really excels in putting together a movie that flows as well as a book and shots as gorgeous as any painting. But before you think this film sounds too boring and artsy, I assure you the love story will keep you engrossed right up to the very last second. For those who haven’t seen the 1985 version of A Room with a View, do yourself a favor and make it a priority!
Content Note: While essentially PG, there is one scene of men bathing and includes full-frontal nudity.
“The stuff that dreams are made of.”
“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope.
I have loved none but you.”