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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
"A Room With A View" is the sumptuous Merchant/Ivory production of E.M. Forster's novel about a young woman, Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham-Carter) who longs to escape her clausterphobic life. To this end she's drawn to two men of varying virtue; George (Julian Sands) a fiery, passionate dreamer - alive with living, and Cecil (Daniel Day Lewis) the snobbish and...
Published on April 6 2004 by Nix Pix

3.0 out of 5 stars Fails to capture the satire, characters of the book
I am very loath to compare movies to the books they were based on. I am usually the first person to defend a movie that changed, modified or embellished on the book it was based on. But when I saw this movie, about two weeks after I read the book, I felt very under whelmed with the script, the acting and the overall feeling of the movie. Granted, I had very high...
Published on July 5 2002 by Margaret P Harvey

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE VIEW FROM THIS ROOM IS STUNNING!, April 6 2004
Nix Pix (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
"A Room With A View" is the sumptuous Merchant/Ivory production of E.M. Forster's novel about a young woman, Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham-Carter) who longs to escape her clausterphobic life. To this end she's drawn to two men of varying virtue; George (Julian Sands) a fiery, passionate dreamer - alive with living, and Cecil (Daniel Day Lewis) the snobbish and stale, though socially acceptable, man about town. This is a fabulous production, elegantly mounted and rich in stellar acting and performances that sadly, are in very short supply in today's cinema. Particularly with Bonham-Carter, one simply wishes that she would play more such roles.
TRANSFER: At long last, yes! After a previously issued disc that frankly, wasn't worth the cheap piece of plastic it was recorded on, this new 2-disc version does right on all accounts. The picture is stunning in a new 16:9 anamorphic transfer. Colors are rich and well balanced. Contrast and shadow levels are bang on. There is some slight shimmering but nothing to terribly distract. The audio is 5.1 and nicely represented. The music is the real kicker here.
EXTRAS: Some interesting archival footage, a BBC featurette, a bit about the author and a very informative audio commentary.
BOTTOM LINE: This is a keeper!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite films!, June 23 2004
I saw this film when it first came out, in the theater, and it has remained one of my favorite films. It was the first film I bought when I got a VCR. This is one of those elegant Merchant-Ivory productions (which also include Maurice and A Passage to India, other E.M. Forster adaptations to film) that sets the late Victorian/early twentieth century world in upper- to upper-middle class England in such gracious light.
The stars of this film include Helena Bonham Carter as Lucy, the heroine, and Julian Sands as George Emerson, her free-spirited suitor, who shocks everyone by doing such risque things as running around without a jacket, or kissing someone (willing) in a field of poppies. The official suitor of Lucy is the stuffed-shirt Cecil Vyse, whose personality seems like it is jammed in a vise. There are great performances by Judi Dench (as a conventional free-spirit, one who likes to be freespirited but not at the expense of reputation), Rupert Graves, Simon Callow, Denhom Elliot, and an outstanding performance (as always, she just has to walk on the set and the film gets an extra star) by Maggie Smith, as the gossipy and fretting aunt and chaperone to Lucy, who eventually comes round to recognizing and rejoicing in the true love of Lucy and George.
The sets are beautiful, the costumes all very much a part of the period, as are the small touches that make up the style of English society that Forster was trying to expose and celebrate in different ways both at the same time. The music is enchanting, with the glorious opera piece "O Mio Bambino Caro" sung by Kiri te Kanawa.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best kissing scenes ever!, April 18 2004
Just watched a Room With A View after having it recommended to my by a friend. I was not dissapointed. The scenery was breathtaking. After watching I was tempted to buy an airplane ticket to Florence and England!
And the kissing scenes. The type that makes your hear go pitter patter and faint. When George first kisses Lucy without any reservations or hesitation- so passsionate! Then he does it again back in England so boldly, since Lucy's fiance Cecil is but a few feet away. The last scene where Lucy and George are kissing and the windows are open letting the view come forth, this is more emotionally charged and sexual than any sex scene I have ever come across in any movie.
Hard to believe that Julian Sands did not become a major romantic lead after this movie. (He could have been like Hugh Grant or better yet Colin Firth or even his costar Daniel Day Lewis) I think he needs to find another agent. I've seen him in other movies though I didn't really notice him until this one. And his other movies are quite bad. Sad to think this movie close to 20 years old is his highlight. He gives such a good performance as George Emerson. He doesn't say much but when he does it's full of meaning. His facial expressions say much more than words could. And just the way he looks at Lucy....when he is looking at her feet after they are done playing tennis - it literally takes my breath away. How could he make looking at feet look so sexy, hot and deliciously wicked all at the same time?!
Daniel Day Lewis as Cecil. Cecil is such a bore,.but I mean it in a good way. Didn't exude any type of sexuality or passion in the least. Hard to believe this is the same guy who made women watch Last of The Mohicans over and over just for him and become so violent in Gangs of New York. Daniel Day Lewis did such a good job with this part I barely recognized him.
Helena Bonham Carter - repressed yet so full of possibilites. And very innocent - was this really the same woman in Fight Club! Demure yet becoming increasingly vocal. And she's gone on to such great roles after this.
There are just too many great actors to name. I love Denholm Holt who played Mr. Emerson. He was so endearing and charming.
Maggie Smith plays the chaperone! Maybe you can get Julian Sands a role in the next Harry Potter movie.
This is such a beauitiful movie. I just wish the DVD had more extras. I wish it had some interviews with all the cast members, and a making of the movie. I would give it 5 stars, but the lack of extras on the DVD earns it a 4.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Room With A View [1985] [Blu-ray] [UK Release], July 25 2014
Andrew C. Miller - See all my reviews
A Room With A View [1985] [Blu-ray] [UK Release] ‘A Room With A View’ is a brilliant and romantic social comment about the English at home and abroad at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Set in Florence and also the English countryside, the film tells the story of a young English couple, Lucy Honeychurch [Helena Bonham Carter] and George Emerson [Julian Sands], who encounters passion whilst on holiday in Florence, Italy. Defying the Victorian conventions of their elders that they dare to be true to their emotions and feelings of each other and their true love. Superbly adapted from the E.M. Foster's classic novel and boasting a wonderful cast, including Daniel Day-Lewis, Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Judy Dench, Denholm Elliot and Simon Callow. ‘A Room With A View’ was a world-wide smash hit and cemented the reputation Merchant Ivory as masters in interpreting the period of the time.

FILM FACT: Nominated for Eight Academy Awards® in 1986, including Best Art Direction [Gianni Quaranta], [Brian Ackland-Snow], [Brian Savegar] and [Elio Altamura]. Best Costume Design [Jenny Beavan] and [John Bright]. Best Adapted Screenplay [Ruth Prawer Jhabvala].

BAFTAs: Best Actress [Dame Maggie Smith]. Best Supporting Actress [Dame Judi Dench]. Best Costume Design [Jenny Beavan]. Best Film [James Ivory]. Best Production Design [Brian Ackland-Snow].

Actors: Helena Bonham Carter, Julian Sands, Dame Maggie Smith, Denholm Elliott, Daniel Day-Lewis, Simon Callow, Rosemary Leach, Rupert Graves, Patrick Godfrey, Dame Judi Dench, Fabia Drake, Joan Henley, Amanda Walker, Maria Britneva, Mia Fothergill and Peter Cellier

Director: James Ivory

Producer: Ismail Merchant

Screenplay: E.M. Forster and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

Composer: Richard Robbins

Cinematography: Tony Pierce-Roberts

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Audio: 5.1 DTS-HD Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH

Running Time: 112 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Film4

Andrew's Review - Producer Ismail Merchant and Director James Ivory, better known collectively as Merchant Ivory, are known for their lavish costume dramas. While they had been making films since the 1960's, the first film to gain them any kind of major notoriety was their adaptation of E.M. Forster's A Room With A View. Starring a then the unknown Helena Bonham Carter at the head of a cast of notable British character actors, the film was a major hit the world over, winning several Academy Awards in both England and America and being nominated for many more. Now, 22 years later, the film has been released on this exquisite Blu-ray disc.

E.M. Forster's novel was written at the turn of the 20th Century, when English society was just learning how to come out from the ironclad grip of Victorian attitude. At the time, the novel was a harsh critique of a country that was trying desperately to hold on to standards of etiquette and decorum that Forster saw as increasingly restrictive. This novel was seen as a rebellious cry for youth. Looking at it now, where people are encouraged to say what they feel and do as they please, it feels antiquated. Of course Lucy should run off with George, a modern audience member is more than likely to think. Why wouldn't she?

The film does an excellent job of setting up the pressures placed upon a British lady of the period. In particular, Dame Maggie Smith is brilliant as the old-fashioned and repressed Charlotte. With just a few words, she conveys all that is wrong with English social conventions. Daniel Day-Lewis is also a standout with his take on Cecil. As a member of the old guard, he certainly is an ill fit for Lucy, but he's not so far gone that he can't perhaps find his own way in the grand scheme of things.

This was an early film for Helena Bonham Carter, and indeed the one that set the course of her career for many years to come. That being said, she's not especially good. She's flat and often seems to be reacting instead of acting. More than that, though, she plays Lucy as someone who for the most part accepts the very aspects of English life that she's meant to be running away from. I know it's a story about repression, but she seems to enjoy it as much as she resists it. Julian Sands is just a sheer joy to watch, as he is in practically every film he's in.

As I mentioned before, Merchant Ivory are best known for their detailed depictions of times now past. ‘A Room With A View’ is no exception. The sweeping views of Florence, Italy are so beautifully rendered, and the costumes are totally perfect, probably down to the stitching. The fateful pond in which Lucy's brother Freddie bathes is picturesque and lush. On the other hand, James Ivory's actual filmmaking technique feels a little too precious for my taste. In particular, the score overlaid on top of the film often feels far too beatific for the events actually occurring on screen. Often we'll have a perfectly good dialogue scene ruined by the incessant whining of the strings, which appear so often as to lose all impact. Even with Ivory's penchant for affectation, there's still a solid little film in ‘A Room With A View.’ I don't necessarily think it's quite as great many feel it is, but there's no denying that the production values and acting are first rate and is worth viewing on a regular basis.

Blu-ray Video Quality – ‘A Room With A View’ was a low budget 1985 British film 1985. The encoded 1080p transfer is fine for its age. Colours are pastel and add to the period of the time, but despite this, I really enjoyed this Blu-ray disc and is now definitely in need of a re-mastered Blu-ray disc.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – The BBC has generously given us a 5.1 DTS-HD mix for this release, but it doesn't amount to much. Aside from the score and a few environmental effects [rainfall etc], the surrounds are almost never used. This is about as stereo of a mix as you can get. Also, it's showing its age. Dialogue is slightly harsh, so that is why it is about time they re-mastered this classic film, despite this, I really like viewing this Blu-ray disc.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

All of the special features are in 480p. Almost all of them are period clips from BBC television, and as such are of rather low picture quality.

Commentary with Producer Ismail Merchant, Director James Ivory, Director of Photography Tony Pierce-Roberts and Actor Simon Callow: This low-key commentary is almost as held back as the characters in the film. Merchant Ivory dominates the proceedings with light reminiscences. Callow jumps in every so often and Pierce-Roberts is hardly heard at all. Much of the commentary is devoted to listening to the men simply watch the movie. This not very engaging at all.

Interviews with Actors Simon Callow and Daniel Day Lewis: These are interviews from when the film was shot. They're from a BBC TV morning show called "Breakfast Time." They're both very brief and insubstantial. Of the two, Daniel Day-Lewis has the better one, but neither is anything revelatory.

Breakfast Time Report on UK Films In The USA: Another snippet, this time on the success of ‘A Room With A View’ in America. There are some hilarious interviews here with New Yorkers coming out of the theatre, having just seen the movie.

Film '96 Profile on Merchant Ivory: A short retrospective on the Merchant Ivory history. Included are achingly brief interviews with Greta Scacchi, Hugh Grant, and Helena Bonham Carter.

E.M. Forster Remembered: A half-hour tribute to the author shortly after his death. Included are remembrances by friends, commentary by critics, and more.

Film Scrapbook: A photo gallery, with the film's insufferable music playing over the top.

Finally, ‘A Room With A View’ is one of the most highly regarded period piece of the time. And with the film's attention to detail and stellar cast, it's easy to see why it was a massive world-wide hit. While I do think James Ivory's filmmaking can be a little too much of a good thing, this is a film that is worth seeing time after time and I am so honoured to add this beautiful Merchant Ivory Blu-ray disc to my Blu-ray Collection. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning..., May 18 2004
...if you have the least interest in this film-BUY the new DVD. It's simply amazing. I've scanned these reviews here, and apparently there was an earlier DVD issue that wasn't up to par at ALL-but rest assured, this reasonably-priced "Special Edition" looks and sounds crisp, clean-and stunningly beautiful. Obviously I loved the film when it was originally released, and plenty of others did as well-see reviews below. But watching this new DVD the other night, I was struck at how amazing this movie really is: in the first place, it's rare(to put it mildly!)for a film nearly 20 years old to not look "dated" at ALL-this one doesn't. It could have been shot yesterday. I'd be willing to bet that in 15 years "Shakespeare in Love" *will* look somehow "late '90s"-it's the norm for period costume pieces to wind up reflecting the styles of the times they were made, even if we can't see it without the distance of years passing. What an achievement, then for James Ivory, Ismail Merchant, and the designers/cinematographer/costumer...and the actors-! Superb, all of them. The second audio track is, I'm afraid, a little superfluous(although it was enjoyable to hear the producers chatting away with Simon Callow-"the Rev. Beebe"-and the only actor to record commentary, alas)...but it doesn't matter a whit. Truly one of those things where everything came together perfectly. If you buy this, you'll have a great shot at converting a few jaded kids(assuming you've got some around the house)to the glories of another time and place, and *real* romance(and just about the sexiest kisses you could ask for). Enjoy!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Zest for life film in brilliant Blu-ray featuring a fine cast of actors..., Sept. 24 2010
Edmonson (Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This film is based on the novel of the same name by E.M.Forster, published in 1908, and is set in Florence, Italy and the English countryside. The movie is a coming of age story about the freeing of self from the repression of British upper class manners and mores. This is a hysterically humorous life affirming film filled with hilarious performances, from the pompous Cecil (Daniel Day Lewis), to the awkward Charlotte (Maggie Smith), to the demented old woman with flowers in her hair. Things get off to a bit of a slow start, and the stabbing in the square, reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, comes across as contrived. Initially the blossoming love affair between Lucy (Helena Bonham Carter) and George (Julian Sands) seems to take second stage to the the joyous expression of life conveyed by the multiple characters. When the three men jump naked into the pond and splash about it seems as if George could just as easily have formed a relationship with either of the other men. George loves life, and is an expression of life, and his attraction to Lucy seems as if it's only a reflection of his love for life itself. Lucy though has something boiling deep inside her too, and her love of Beethoven's music reflects this, but it takes some time before this intensity rises to the surface and she comes into her own.

Seeing the young Helena Bonham Carter and Daniel Day Lewis is a treat. Helena's shy, naive character is a curious thing to watch early on given that her later movie roles are so energized. It is only about three quarters of the way through the film, once she rejects Cecil, that she truly blossoms and comes into her own. It's as if she sees her potential for the first time, and she seems repeatedly pleasantly surprised to find that she has this other side.

Daniel Day Lewis portrays his character with the same wry wit that we have come to enjoy in his more recent films. When we hear that Cecil is taking Lucy's snub hard there is nothing further from the truth. Cecil's character is a humorous study of an individual enclosed in his self satisfied intellectualized world, who seems out of touch with everything. Daniel Day Lewis seems to relish the role and pushes his character to the edge of absurd.

The romance between Lucy and George never really seems real until the very end when they are in Florence sitting in the frame of the window kissing. George is an uninhibited young man, and Lucy reacts to his stolen kisses early on with surprise. Gradually this vibrant young man awakens something within her. This shift is accentuated by the shift from the stuffy ornate interiors seen earlier in the film to the natural environments of fields and ponds Lucy and George find themselves surrounded by later on.

Julian Sands, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Denholm Elliot, and Simon Callow also star.

This film is a gorgeously filmed movie, from the rich interiors to the marvelous landscapes, and the Blu-ray transfer takes full advantage of this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars They do not come better than this, July 7 2004
James Ivory's "Room With a View" is a tour de force. Adapted by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala from the novel by E.M. Forster, "A Room with a View" is a shining example of Merchant-Ivory's ability to achieve maximum quality and opulence at minimum cost. It shows the life of Lucy Honeychurch starting from Italy, going through England and ending in Italy. This is a thoughtful movie that requires one to understand the standards of England then to realize that it is fighting against the set rigid style of life. This style of life is eternal and can be seen in movies like "Guess who is coming to dinner". Denholm Elliot raises his son to not care about anything but truth and beauty. The acting and screenplay is wonderful. Daniel Day Lewis does a superb job as Cecil. Judy Davis is superb as the novelist, Eleanor Lavish as is Maggie Smith.
Even the humor in the movie is unusual. When the English chaplain in Florence, Mr Eager shows a chapel and mentions, "Remember that this was built by faith in the full fervor of medievalism", it prompts, Mr Emerson to say, "Faith indeed. It simply means that the workers were not paid well." The movie has understated humor that is refreshing compared to the usual slapstick. Scenes were the brother and sister are together are especially funny.
A lot of people found the movie too slow. Well, this is not a cop movie, it requires one to think about what goes underneath each person. The movie is based on one of the special books that breaks down class distinctions, though it is subtle and dignified. I personally felt that this was the best movie of the year and easily bet "Platoon" in its class. A winner of three Academy Awards, "A Room with a View" is not what one could call fast-moving, but fans of the Merchant-Ivory team will enjoy luxuriating in the film's leisurely pace and stimulating cast of characters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly Executed, May 30 2004
R. M. Ettinger "rme1963" (Cleveland Heights, OH USA) - See all my reviews
Great movie made from a good book. Rarely happens, but Merchant/Ivory did an incredible job creating this film. Scenery, script, music and acting are all in perfect condition from the original movie.
Casting is impeccable: Maggie Smith couldn't be better cast as 'Poor Charlotte'...who is as passive-aggressive as they come. Judi Dench, as always, does a lot w/a little role. But it really is Daniel Day-Lewis, Julian Sands and Helena Bonham Carter who make the movie. Especially Day-Lewis who can annoy the hell out of you and then on a dime make you feel like his heart has actually been shattered. Don't count Rupert Graves, Simon Callow or Rosemary Leach short. All do excellent jobs.
Some reviews (from the original released version) have mentioned that the audio was out of synch w/the video. I had this trouble w/this 'special edition' on my mid-priced Sony player - but the DVD plays just fine on my laptop.
The 2nd disk is almost not needed. Except for a documentary/video-obituary on E.M. Forester, the extras are horrid.
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Shashank Tripathi (Gadabout) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Room With a View (DVD)
This exquisite classic of Merchant-Ivory is sensually explores the struggle between the tight exterior of the British upper crust and the seething passion that lurks just beneath in the increasingly powerful middle class. You've seen a movie or two for sure that veer around such themes, but very few films have captured this combination of class struggle and personal liberation any more evocatively!
Our protagonist is a young, passionate and repressed Miss Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter in possibly her best role ever) who exemplifies this unspoken inner-outer conflict. As she struggles between what is expected of her, to marry the effete and obnoxious Cecil Vyse (Daniel Day Lewis in a richly textured performance), and what she really wants, to be with the yearning, romantic George Emerson (a soft and unfocused Julian Sands) Miss Honeychurch must juggle class concerns and personal desires.
As with any Merchant Ivory product, the all-round cast is vivid and intriguing. Maggie Smith never leaves a dull moment in any of her movies, a credo she maintains here as well as Lucy's nervous and confused escort -- for which she received a well deserved Oscar. As George's bewildered and sweet father, the marvellous Denholm Elliot steals every scene in which he appears. Lastly, Simon Callow as the ebullient, robust Reverend Beebe captures all that is good and true about humanity.
A word for the DVD. The cinematography in this movie sparkles, and the DVD does complete justice to Ivory's camera skills -- the shots are so pure you will want to taste the dew resting atop the grass in the sumptuous English gardens.
What a complete movie, full of life, love and hope! Highly recommended for your collections, you'll watch this more than once.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Get Out And Enjoy The View, June 21 2003
In this period piece, Helena Bonham Carter and her aunt Maggie Smith go on vacation in Florence, encountering novelist Judi Dench, Reverend Simon Callow, and Denholm Elliot and his son Julian Sands. Smith cuts the trip short after witnessing a passionate kiss between Bonham Carter and Sands. Back in England, Bonham Carter ends up engaged to stuffy, serious snob Daniel Day-Lewis, while Sands and his father end up living in town. Needless to say, all of this leads to complications.
As one would expect from a Merchant-Ivory film, the performances are all top standard. Bonham Carter is excellent as the girl struggling against the growing passions inside her. Smith excels as the fussy, proper, but deeply concerned aunt. Day-Lewis is terrific in a most untypical role, while Sands is very strong as his counterpoint. The supporting cast are all terrific as well.
As one would also expect from Merchant-Ivory, the attention to period detail is amazing and the script is very literate. It is a bit slow in parts, but the development of the characters and the manner in which thoughts and feelings are conveyed without words makes up for it. The meaning of the title becomes only too evident by the end. Everybody on a trip loves a room with a view. But the same should apply to our everyday life. Why shut yourself into loneliness or unfulfillment? Get out and enjoy the view!
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