This week's Pick: A Room with a View (1985).
A Merchant Ivory film based on the novel of the same name. The story is about Lucy, a young Englishwoman, traveling aboard in Florance with her spinster cousin as a chaperon. Lucy and her cousin Charlotte were promised "a room with a view" but were not given one at the hotel they are staying at in Florence. As Charlotte complains about this mix-up at the dinner table, the eccentric Mr. Emersons (Father and son) offer to trade rooms with them, being men they have no use for their view. Charlotte is shocked by their forwardness and rejects the offer, although she is later convinced to accept. The Mr. Emersons are viewed as unusual and not accepted all of the hotel patrons, however Lucy frequently runs into them when visiting various locations around Florence, she is polite to them, although a little put off by their unique-ness. One afternoon Lucy witnesses a violent murder of an Italian in a square, George Emerson (the son) is their and catches her as she faints. They walk back to the hotel together and talk at length. Charlotte does not approve of the Emersons and encourages Lucy to avoid them. One day several hotel guests including, the Emersons, Lucy and her cousin, a female novelist, and English clergymen Mr. Bebbe, travel to the Florence country side. George and Lucy end up alone in a field of violets, overcome George kisses Lucy, but her cousin Charlotte sees and forces Lucy and George to promise to never speak of the incident to anyone. The movie next picks up in England, at the home of Lucy. Lucy has just been proposed to by Cecil, a English gentleman she met when traveling in Rome, she accepts, although it is clear her brother Freddy does not approve of Cecil. In a bit of fate the Emersons have just taken lease of house in the neighborhood, being recommended to it by Cecil- although neither realize the connection they share with Lucy. George and Freddy become easy friends, and Freddy invites George over to play tennis. Cecil reads out loud to everyone a scene from a novel that is strikingly familiar to the kiss George and Lucy shared in Florence. George sneaks off and kisses Lucy again. Lucy realizes that the novelist they met in Florence has written the book and her cousin Charlotte must of told her about the kiss. Angered, she forces Charlotte to witness as she tells George to leave and never come back. George argues with her, saying Cecil could never love her the way he did. Lucy still sends him away. Later that evening angry with Cecil, Lucy breaks off her engagement with him. She plans to escape the country and travel to Greece with some friends she might while in Florence. Before she leaves she speaks with Mr. Emerson (the father) and confesses she has been in love with George all along. George and Lucy marry. The film picks with George and Lucy honeymooning in Florence at the hotel where they met.
My thoughts: Great little romance, classic story- I have seen one other adaptation that had Lucy act as the Narrator looking back- but it took some liberties with the story having George die in WWI. Only weird thing is during place or time jumps in the film it put up a screen that would read: Lucy lies to Cecil, (etc) using these scenes to narrate a little. Helen Bonham Carter- stars as Lucy, you will recognize the rest of the cast as well, Daniel Day-Lewis is Cecil. Maggie Smith is Charlotte. Judy Dench is the novelist. But for the most part excellent film, I preferred this version over the more recent remake BBC did.