Directed by Iain Softley
Written by Hossein Amini, based on the novel by Henry James
Starring Helena Bonham Carter, Linus Roache, Alison Elliott, Elizabeth McGovern, Michael Gambon
My Advice: Wait and Rent It.
There's a fine line that one walks with producing a tragedy. There's two ways it can go, because for the most part, let's face it, tragedies occur because people make really bad and/or stupid choices. One way is that you transcend the stupidity of the characters, actually relate to them, and get caught up in their plight (i.e. The English Patient, The Remains of the Day). The other way it can swing is that you see the people involved as silly, stupid people and you can't understand why anyone would act that way (i.e. Wuthering Heights). It's closer to the latter with this recent trip into Henry Jamesville. We have the despicable Kate Croy (Carter), caught between a empty purse and a hard place (Merton Densher, played by Roache), and trying to secure her meal ticket (Millie Theale, played by Elliott) and independence. And that's pretty much the long and short of it. The actors are all adequate in their roles but it's very hard to care about the characters that they play, which is bad for this, which I consider a tragedy. It's not even as good as Wuthering Heights, because at least with that I wanted to strangle the characters. Here, it was hard to even feel sorry for them. Simply a film that did not rub me at all, much less the wrong way.
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