Monday, September 24, 2012

747. A Room with a View (1986)

Running Time: 117 minutes
Directed By: James Ivory
Written By: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, from novel by E.M. Forster
Main Cast: Helena Bonham-Carter, Julian Sands, Maggie Smith, Daniel Day-Lewis, Simon Callow
Click here to view the trailer


I hate to say it, I really do, but this 100 is shaping up to be the worst 100 of them all. Oh sure, there have been some excellent movies this season, movies that could easily stand up against some of the best films I've watched thus far, however, there have definitely been more bad than good, which leads me to "A Room with a View".

Miss Lucy Honeychurch (Bonham-Carter) and her chaperone (and cousin) Charlotte Bartlett (Smith) arrive at their hotel room in Florence, Italy (by way of England) to a ghastly surprise. It seems that their room, which they were promised provided a glorious view of the city, doesn't provide that at all. They squabble over it quite intensely at dinner and can't help but be overheard by Mr. Emerson and his son George (Sands). The two Mr. Emersons offer to switch rooms with the ladies, citing that their room provides a great view, an offer that they later accept. Later, when Lucy faints after witnessing two Italian men get into a bloody brawl, George Emerson tends to her, carrying her to a safer place and seeing her back to her room. Days later, while enjoying some outdoor time, Lucy and George happen upon one another in a meadow and share a kiss. When Lucy returns to England, she vows to keep the kiss a secret from her overbearing mother and plans go forward for engagement to Cecil Vyse (Day-Lewis). However, coincidence rears it's ugly head and the two Mr. Emersons end up moving in near Lucy. Will Lucy make the appropriate and proper choice and go ahead with her plans to wed Cecil or will her heart and passion take over and choose George?

There's one thing I do love about these prim period dramas and it's that they seem to really improve my vocabulary, if only for a few days following the viewing. On a more serious positive note, I can also give all the credit in the world to the fine cast that was assembled for "A Room with a View", my favorite members being Daniel Day-Lewis as the ultra prim Cecil Vyse, a delicious character and Simon Callow as Reverend Beebe. Seriously, someone find me a tape or CD of Simon Callow reading Moby Dick and I'll put it on every single night and fall asleep to it. No one's voice should be that charming and soothing. There's also no denying the talents of Denholm Elliot, Judi Dench (who isn't in the film enough) and Maggie Smith. And hey, who knew Helena Bonham-Carter would be able to carry her weight, sharing the stage with such graceful actors. I always thought she was nothing more than Tim Burton's muse. This period piece is done well, as everything from the music to the costumes and the sets look authentic and actually, technically there's nothing wrong here. James Ivory obviously cast his bait well when it came time for the 59th Annual Academy Awards.


My biggest problem here was with the story, which seemed so counterfeit and done to death. Girl meets boy (or vice versa), shares a moment (a kiss, a one night stand, etc.), returns to the man she originally intended to wed (thereupon realizing all of his faults and yearning for the man she shared the moment with) and finally, returning to the man she shared the moment with and living happily ever after. Maybe it wasn't so in 1986, but hasn't this story been done repeatedly? Or is it just me? Also, these period pieces are really touch and go with me. I'm can very easily get bored with them and want, like nothing else, to shut them off and never see another one and that's the effect that "A Room with a View" had on yours truly. I can admire the acting and all of the technical flawlessness, but in the end their just incredibly dull. It's like a box of bran flakes with a rainbow colored box - it may look yummy on the outside, but trust me, once you delve inside it's quite bland, I assure you.

RATING: 4.5/10  I've crunched the proverbial numbers and I can't even get it to the halfway mark. Oh well, chalk down another one in the loss column for this 100 and please, oh please, send me something soon that will blow me away!! I beg to you movie Gods!


The Night of the Shooting Stars (1982 - Taviani, Taviani)
Bull Durham (1988 - Ron Shelton)
Cinema Paradiso (1988 - Giuseppe Tornatore)
The Decline of the American Empire (1986 - Denys Arcand)

September 24, 2012  5:07pm

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