A Room with a View

Hard on the heels of David Lean’s grandiose version of E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India, the producer-director-writer team of Merchant /Ivory/Jhabvala get the scale of Forster’s vision down to its right size. The story of the awakening of young Lucy (Helena Bonham Carter), thanks to the liberating effect of the Tuscan countryside and the Latin temperament, is translated with perfect judgement, with the only lapses occurring over Forster’s wry sense of humour. None the less, in line with Forster’s dicta on ‘fully rounded characters’, there is a fine gallery here; and the ‘tea tabling’ effect of the Home Counties upon grand emotion, from an era when dynastic families could topple over a single kiss, is mapped out with perfect precision. Decent, honest, truthful, and dearest of all to Forster, it connects.
U.K., 1985. Colour. Dolby stereo. 117 min.

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