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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on September 22, 2001
I'm always very much torn as to whether I should review the book or the movie in these cases, especially since I'm in an accute stage of E. M. Forster worship; but that in mind, let it be known that the book is possibly my favorite ever, truly incredible, and doubly remarkable considering that it was his first true novel. BUT HERE is the movie review: What a splendid film this is. The casting is really beyond perfect. It's wonderful to see Helena Bonham Carter flourishing in a role that is by no means based on being physically beautiful, but rather, emotionally and spiritually so. She and Rupert Graves are highly de-glamorized by the costume/make-up crew and it's spectacular to see them shine through as wonderful personalities *without* their movie-star looks. Rupert Graves is quite brilliant; he portrays a man with (in Forster's words) "a sense of beauty and a sense of humour" but with no sense of life. As the story goes on you watch him waking up to the world around him, and by the end he is no longer the same person: a really wonderful and moving transformation. Judy Davis is superb as well; "acrid and indissoluable," snapping to an Italian landlady, "I don't care for the lot of you, I'm English!" The film is fantastic all in all: wonderfully paced, acted, shot. And it will move you to tears at the end.
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on February 19, 1999
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.
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on November 30, 1999
If you have not seen this little gem based on E.M Forster's first published novel then you are in for a treat. An excellent story adapted to fit the screen perfectly with sublime performances from Rupert Graves and Judy Davis. A very fine series of moments. Go ahead treat yourself to a bit of class.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 19, 2010
I found this dvd somewhat boring. I love period stories and have a number of dvd's of that genre, so that isn't why I didn't enjoy this. I found the story draggy and really a bit of a waste of time. Had I rented it first, I wouldn't have bought it. It seems to jump around a lot and perhaps if you have read the book the viewer might be more informed as to what is going on.I found the story a bit unbelievable actually despite the fact the actors portrayed the roles well. I thought Helen Mirran, even though her role is limited, was the best character. Helen Bonham Carter was good but the substance of the story just wasn't there for me.
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on May 1, 2010
There is not much I can add to the 3 reviews already written, they described it perfectly and with such admiration. Everything about this film is so well done I can watch it again & again and never tire of it. Rupert Graves was also in E.M Forster's film adaptation of "Maurice", also a great film. Where Angels Fear To Tread definitely rival's any Merchant Ivory Production.
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on November 12, 2011
This movie is charming. It moves slowly and steadily through to the end. I enjoyed the cast members, all younger but full of talent.
It's the kind of movie to watch when you want to relax. It's like reading a well-loved novel.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon August 29, 2013
Actually, this is a fairly good, interesting story. However, because there are no subtitles or closed captions, the poor sound coupled with the English accents make it very difficult to understand the dialogue. It is, however, another poignant exposure to the English class system in the 1800's. The costuming, portrayal of Italy and the customs and traditions of the Italians in contrast to those of the English make this a good movie that could have been even better.
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on July 10, 2013
This story exposes yet again the dangers of snobbery and bigotry so evident in the British class system of that era. A tantalilizing tale brillliantly presented. The beauty and sensuality of Italy and Italians contrasts sharply with the sharp, rigid lives of the sun and joy-deprived British. Lovely film.
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on November 26, 2013
I bought this as I love Carter's acting but was amazed to find everyone does a great job. It is so rare with todays movies to have all the cast good and where CGI is not a factor!
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on June 15, 2013
I was disappointed as the story jumps around a lot.
As much as I love British drama, I felt that all of that wonderful talent was wasted here.
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