A Room with a View (1985)

The manners and manias of polite Edwardian society are studiously dissected in this typical Merchant-Ivory period drama, a handsomely mounted adaptation of E.M. Forster’s 1908 novel.
“An intellectual film, but intellectual about emotions: it encourages us to think about how we feel, instead of simply acting on our feelings.” Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, 1986 In turn-of-the-century Italy with her maiden aunt, young Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) is courted by the romantic George (Julian Sands). Although his sudden kiss in a barley field awakens longings of her own, she goes home to Surrey and gets engaged to priggish Cecil Vyse (Daniel Day Lewis) – at which point George reappears. James Ivory’s direction is characteristically cool and polished, and the film’s good looks won it two Oscars. There’s quiet humour in the foibles of Lucy’s purse-lipped entourage, but her wavering between familiar confinement and the possibility of a wider life – both implicit in the title – feels more theoretical than vital to her well-being. Still, the film has a happier ending than the book. Following David Lean’s version of E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India (1984), Merchant-Ivory adapted three of the author’s novels, including Maurice (1987) and Howards End (1991).
1985 United Kingdom
Directed by
James Ivory
Produced by
Ismail Merchant
Written by
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham Carter, Denholm Elliott