Friday, December 16, 2011

A Room with a View

While vacationing in Florence with her significantly older cousin Charlotte (Maggie Smith), Lucy ((Helena Bonham Carter) notices their window view of the city isn't all that the travel bureau made it out to be. At dinner with the other tenants later that night, another tourist (Denholm Elliot) travelling with his son George (Julian Sands) hears the cousin's gripes and offers to provide them the use of one of his unused rooms containing a magnificent view. This acquaintance leads to a countryside dalliance between Lucy and George and, thanks to cousin Charlotte's big mouth, creates a rift between Lucy and her fiance Cecil (Daniel Day-Lewis) back home in England, even more-so when George and his father come to stay at Cecil's estate! "A Room with a View" is a delightful adaptation of the E.M. Forster novel by the preeminent filmmaking team of director James Ivory, producer Ismail Merchant, and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. Amongst the beautiful backdrops of both the Italian and British countrysides, as well as the flourishes of Florence, the Merchant/Ivory brings the light, funny, touching, and offbeat story to life, thanks also to a wonderful British cast. Helena Bonham Carter is charming in an early role and a much different one than the ones we've come to known her in. The great Maggie Smith plays against type as well, and goes to town playing a gossipy, needy woman. Denholm Elliot is fine in support as the down to earth Mr. Emmerson, as is Judi Dench as a hack novelist, and Daniel Day-Lewis is absolutely hysterical playing an emasculated snob. "A Room with a View" is a magnificent and picturesque literary adaptation.