Sunday, October 3, 2010

"House of Mirth" movie

This is based on one of my all-time favorite novels of the same name written by Edith Wharton (one of my favorite authors actually who also wrote "Age of Innocence" and "Ethan Fromme"). It follows the tragic decline of Lily Bart who believes she wants to marry a rich husband more than anything, but cannot seem to follow through with it. This is no Austin (no offense, I do love me some good Austen). The wit is sharper, the relationships more ambivalent. While Lily is self absorbed and a bit of a fortune hunter, she is without guile and a little obtuse about the impression her actions give.
Enough about the actual story... the movie! Gillian Anderson plays Lily. I would not have imagined her for it, but thank heavens I was not in charge of casting! Who knew this woman could ACT?! It proves "Bleak House" wasn't some fluke. I cannot say enough good things about her. She is able to go from youthful energy, and determination to bleak, lost, but ever dignified.
Laura Linney plays Bertha Dorset, who personifies everything I most despise about this kind of society (facetious and devious). Dan Akroyd does surprisingly well. And Eric Stolz (with whom I am not familiar) plays Lawrence Selden, a man Lily cares for and likes, but isn't rich enough to provide her with what she wants in life. Not that he's knocking her door down to marry him.
It's a very quiet movie and being familiar with the story as I am, I can't help but think if you weren't, some changes in time and circumstances might be a bit confusing. Also, the director seems a little self indulgent sometimes, especially in his transition from New York to the Dorset's yacht. But, stick with it. It's so painfully beautiful and poignant and most of the confusion is cleared up sometime in the next scene. The library has it (that's where I got it from). It came out in 2000, though I think the only other version is a 1918 :)
I remember when I read this book I lamented that it wasn't a movie. Well, it was, I just didn't know it. I'm so glad I found out! Make sure you watch the deleted scenes, because the first scene between Lily and Lawrence got cut down and is much better at the longer length.


It's a must watch for any fan of period film. It isn't a great trailer, to be sure (when will they make great trailers for these great movies?!) but, just to get a taste (Can I please have Gillian's hair as a wig?):

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