Film: A Room with a View

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Film:

A Room with a View

Director: James Ivory
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Genres:
Distributor: BBC Warner

The prestigious filmmaking trio of producer Ismail Merchant, director James Ivory, and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala had made other critically acclaimed films before A Room with a View was released in 1985, but it was this popular film that made them art-house superstars. Splendidly adapted from the novel by E.M. Forster, it’s a comedy of the heart, a passionate romance and a study of repression within the British class system of manners and mores. It’s that system of rigid behavior that prevents young Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) from…

Reviews

Amazon.com

The prestigious filmmaking trio of producer Ismail Merchant, director James Ivory, and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala had made other critically acclaimed films before A Room with a View was released in 1985, but it was this popular film that made them art-house superstars. Splendidly adapted from the novel by E.M. Forster, it’s a comedy of the heart, a passionate romance and a study of repression within the British class system of manners and mores. It’s that system of rigid behavior that prevents young Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) from accepting the loving advances of a free-spirited suitor (Julian Sands), who fears that she will follow through with her engagement to a priggish intellectual (Daniel Day-Lewis) whose capacity for passion is virtually nonexistent. During and after a trip to Italy with her protective companion (Maggie Smith), Lucy gradually gets in touch with her true emotions. The fun of watching A Room with a View comes from seeing how Lucy’s thoughts and feelings finally arrive at the same romantic conclusion. Through an abundance of humor both subtle and overt, this crowd-pleasing “art movie” rose to an unexpected level of popular appeal. The Merchant-Ivory team received eight Academy Award nominations for their efforts, and won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, Art Direction, and Costume Design. —Jeff Shannon

Barnes and Noble

Starched collars, pince-nez, and lawn tennis are just some of the niceties to be found in this Academy Award-winning adaptation of E. M. Forster’s Edwardian period novel. Helena Bonham Carter stars as Lucy Honeychurch, a young English tourist in Florence whose prim and proper life is threatened by her attraction to a brooding, young romantic (Julian Sands). Penned by screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, A Room with a View brought the team of producer Ishmael Merchant and director James Ivory to the peak of their international success. The film’s light charm, graceful period ambience, and attractive cast—Daniel Day-Lewis and Maggie Smith turn in splendid performances—became their trademark. Leisurely yet engaging, the first half of A Room with a View works nicely as a travelogue of Florence; the latter half returns to the English countryside where the manors are nice, the manners even nicer, and the principals meander their way toward happily ever after. Gregory Baird

Related Works

Book:A Room with a View

A Room with a View

E.M. Forster

This Edwardian social comedy explores love and prim propriety among an eccentric cast of characters assembled in an Italian pensione and in a corner of Surrey, England.  A charming young English woman, Lucy Honeychurch, faints into the arms of a fellow Britisher when she witnesses a murder in a Florentine piazza.  Attracted to this man, George Emerson—who is entirely unsuitable and whose father just may be a Socialist—Lucy is soon at war with the snobbery of her class and her own conflicting desires.  Back in England she is courted by a more acceptable, if stifling, suitor, and soon realizes she must make a startling decision that will decide the course of her future:  she is forced to choose between convention and passion.  The enduring delight of this tale of romantic intrigue is rooted in Forster’s colorful characters, including outrageous spinsters, pompous clergymen and outspoken patriots.  Written in 1908, A Room With A View is one of E.M. Forster’s earliest and most celebrated works.

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