A Room with a View Screen 6 articles

A Room with a View

1985

A Room with a View Poster
  • The focus of virtually every scene is the snippy judgments the characters pass on their supposed inferiors; meanwhile, the director is passing his own judgments on everybody, via grotesquely distorted close-ups and coyly interposed subtitles. You're bullied into sharing Ivory's point of view—it's that or be labeled a clod.

  • A Room with a View is a masterful example of how to take well-regarded literary source material, render it in a manner that displays the visual markers of middlebrow sophistication, like ornamental costume design and fine-tuned “art direction,” as the Oscars like to call it, and intersperse it with surface-level controversies, like three heterosexual men chasing each other around a pond with their dicks out.

  • Without [Helena Bonham Carter], A Room with a View would have been merely a Masterpiece Theater litany of ripe character actors spouting the king's English. With her, it breathes like a newlywed on honeymoon.

  • Part of Merchant Ivory’s gift was recognizing which masterpieces of world literature would translate well, providing material that can actually be photographed in addition to superlative prose (which can’t). A Room With A View, with its clash between stiff propriety and unruly passion, was ideal, and also provided a superb showcase for some of England’s greatest actors, few of whom were well known at the time.

  • The film leaves the spectator with an overwhelming impression of being entirely suffused with heart-lifting, open-air sunlight—not unlike, in this respect, some of the masterworks of Renoir or Rohmer. Yet revisiting A Room with a View, thirty years on, one is struck not only by the glorious sunlight but equally by an effervescent lightness of tone—and a sense that the film has weathered the years without, in any significant way, growing old or stale.

  • All these years later, surely it’s time to sweep aside the preconceptions and see the film for what it is: fresh, sophisticated, and above all, passionate. And that A Room With a View is also lovely to look at detracts neither from its comic wisdom nor its status as one of the best movies of the ’80s.

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