Director: James Ivory
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Anjelica Houston, Nick Nolte, Jeremy Northam, and Uma Thurman
Description: Adam Verver, a US billionaire in London, dotes on daughter Maggie, an innocent abroad. An impecunious Italian, Prince Amerigo, marries her even though her best friend, Charlotte Stant, an alabaster beauty with brains, no money, and a practical and romantic nature, is his lover. She and Amerigo keep it secret from Maggie that they know each other, so Maggie interests her widowed father in Charlotte, who is happy with the match because she wants to be close to Amerigo. Charlotte desires him, the lovers risk discovery, Amerigo longs for Italy, Maggie wants to spare her father pain, and Adam wants to return to America to build a museum. Amidst lies and artifice, what fate awaits adulterers?
Review: This is the first time I've seen the movie from beginning to end. Now that I've seen the whole thing, I really like it more. I really dislike the character of Amerigo. He just seems like such scum. I feel bad for his wife, Maggie. This Merchant/Ivory production is somewhat different, to me, than their other productions. It just had a different feel. I did like how they shot the footage at the end to look like it was archival images. The acting was done well and overall I liked the movie.
Score: 3.5 out of 5
Book Connection: The favorable case asserts that the novel is a superb dramatization of the stresses inherent in any marriage and the sometimes circuitous methods required to overcome them. James' presentation of Maggie's subdued but desperate struggle is much admired for its insight and precision. The dialogue is often brilliant in its delicate indirection, and many scenes are realized with the full impact of James' most mature technique.