So, over Christmas 2020 the COVID-19 entered my household. These posts are those that had to be written up later because being at the computer for more than 15 minutes made me feel beyond tired. I can cook, but I can’t type – it’s very strange. Still, these posts were done well after the fact so apologies in advance.
List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 889/1009Title: A Room With A View
Director: James Ivory
So I am currently in the state where, after doing the dishes, I am so tired that I need to lay down. In some ways, it feels like my recovery is starting to go backwards. Still wanting to feel somewhat useful, I wanted to get along with some 1001 movies despite having many of them being a bit too intense to watch now. Like, if I watched The Killing Fields I think I would just completely collapse. Good thing, therefore, that I had this period romance from Merchant-Ivory still to see.
There is something very specific in the repressed period pieces by E. M. Forster. Between this, A Passage to India and Maurice I have a decent grip on he writes about class and the inability of people within certain classes to make proper connections due to propriety. It was also in this work, as well as in Maurice, that you see how Forster’s own homosexuality appears. Considering the naked male bathing scene and Daniel Day-Lewis playing Cecil as a repressed gay man, the gayness really is in full force here.
On paper, A Room With A View is one of those films that I know I am going to enjoy. A period romance that pokes at the foibles of the moneyed class and has a bundle of great supporting performances. Truly, to see Maggie Smith and Judi Dench sparring in 1985 as Edwardian tourists in Florence was wonderful. Similarly, Daniel Day-Lewis and Simon Callow are great in their roles as men who, depending on your interpretations, are battling with their repressed homosexuality.
The directing and cinematography are beautiful, the titular view is spectacular and the scenes in Florence made me so ache for a time where we can travel again and I can show my husbands the wonders of this city. My only issue was, surprisingly, with the lack of chemistry between the romantic leads. This is weird for me to say as I do love Helena Bonham-Carter, but it felt like there was more sexual tension between her and the actor playing her brother than the man playing her romantic interest.
In the end though, the actual romantic story in A Room With A View doesn’t feel as important as just taking in the world around the Honeychurch family. This is pretty much the critical peak of Merchant-Ivory and I think I will be more than happy to see more of their work – especially Howard’s End – but that’ll have to wait for me to finish off the list.