If you did not know this film was directed by Charles Sturridge you would swear this was a Merchant/Ivory production - no small praise. This film is a comedy/tragedy based on Forster's first novel. As with all of Forster's novels, class distinctions and the situations which arise between them are the central focus of the film. Initially, what results from a newly widowed, young woman (Mirren), taking a trip to Italy and impulsively marrying the son of a local dentist, throws her staid inlaws into a tizzy, and makes for several comic scenes. However, when she has a child - the attempts of her inlaws to "save" the child from what they believe will be a poor upbringing has tragic consequences. All of the actors embody the characters as Forster must have envisioned ninety years ago - Judy Davis is especially good as the spinsterish Harriett and Barbara Jefford is an imposing Mrs. Herriton. Helen Mirren is luminous as the flightly, wayward Lilia and Giovanni Guidelli, as her handsome younger husband, is a perfectly likeable rogue. The relationship which develops throughout the film between Phillip, (Rupert Graves), and Caroline, (Helena Bonham-Carter), is a thing to behold! You don't even realize it is happening (and neither do they) until it's too late. Graves is especially good as Phillip - a young man who is drifting through his comfortable life - until this complicated situation arises and forces him to decide if he is going to let life happen to him or just watch it happen to others. The locations in England and Italy are exquisite and the pace of the film keeps you guessing. The final tragedy and ending are especially bittersweet. Just like real life, things aren't always resolved neatly - but out of all the messiness can come true understanding and forgiveness. A wonderful, hopeful film.