Director: James Ivory
Cast: Helena Bonham Carter, Julian Sands, Daniel Day-Lewis, Maggie Smith, Denholm Elliott, Simon Callow, Patrick Godfrey, Judi Dench
Lucy Honeychurch is a young proper lady growing up in the English countryside, and she is traveling to Florence with her older cousin and chaperon, Charlotte Bartlett. When the two find themselves unexpectedly placed in cramped rooms without views, a chain of events begin that will forever change young Lucy's life.
When at dinner, two eccentric gentleman guests offer the ladies their rooms (with spectacular views), the ladies reluctantly accept the generous offer. The younger of the two gentlemen, George Emerson, takes an instant peculiar liking to Lucy, and days later, on a picnic in the countryside, he romantically snatches her into his arms and kisses her.
When Lucy returns home to her engagement to the uber-sophisticated, nasaly, and stoic Cecil– she is forced to examine the true value of her comfort versus the reckless abandon of true happiness.
Though idealistically set and lavishly costumed, the film lacks cohesiveness. Disjointed, unlikely happenings lead to bursts of emotion which we never saw evidence of forming? It is hard to celebrate the love exclamations of two characters that we have never seen together...
As I have said before, Daniel Day-Lewis is one of my favorite performers, and my bias continues–as I truly felt his light, silly performance as Cecil brought amusement and charm to a film that otherwise lacked relatable character. Entertaining, but I caution that it will satisfy no substantial appetite for drama, comedy, history, or romance.