|Lucy Honeychurch looking out over Florence from her "Room with a View"|
|Julian Sands as George Emerson|
|Daniel day Lewis as Cecil Vyse|
Daniel Day Lewis plays the character of Cecil Vyse, the passionless, reserved fiance of Lucy. He reminds me of a cold impenetrable marble statue both in demeanor and personality. Daniel Day Lewis is spectacular in this role. Lucy Honeychurch is the main character whom the novel revolves around. She is played by Helena Bonham-Carter, whom we have seen more recently as the young Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in The King's Speech. Lucy is as compassionate as Cecil is sneering, as soft as Cecil is hard. She is an accomplished pianist who, before she undergoes her trans-formative period, puts all her passion into her music. As Mr. Beebe, the clergyman in the church in Windy Corner (Lucy's home), states, "If Miss Honeychurch ever takes to live as she plays-it will be very excited-both for us and for her." With this statement, we are offered a glimpse of what is to come as the film progresses and unfolds. Lucy's music exposes the real Lucy, the genuine side of her just waiting to come out and be known.
Julian Sands plays the character of George Emerson, "silent George", a man ignorant of propriety but not of happiness, nor Fate itself. Through clandestine meetings, Lucy and George begin to fall in love. George recognizes this, but Lucy refuses to acknowledge the feelings she has for George. George is both sultry and innocent at the same time. He is bold and unafraid to show his passion and to believe in what he feels.
The most important chapter of the novel is aptly named The Twelfth Chapter and this Merchant Ivory Production really does this chapter a good amount of justice. I think Forster had highlighted this particular chapter because it exhibits exactly what Forster is attempting to achieve with this novel. Freddy, and George meet here, along with Mr. Beebe, and all three decide to spend the afternoon at the "Sacred Lake", the village pond mostly secluded by all but those who happen to pass through the woods. The three men become naked and almost immediately natural, without any sign of civilization and polite society to hold them back. They throw their clothes around in play as to show that this is what they think of society and its trappings. I might also add this scene contains a shocking amount of male frontal nudity, which really is all right by me. There is too much female-centric nudity in film these days. I wanted to pull a quote from the novel that really fits with this scene:
|Lucy and Cecil at the Sacred Lake|
|Lucy and George in Florence|
I love how James Ivory is able to exhibit this idea of nature and civilization clashing throughout this film. We see Cecil in one scene smoking inside the house gazing at Lucy who is running back from tennis, all flushed with the fresh air, exercise, and passionate feelings toward George. In another, Cecil is taking Lucy, her mother, and Charlotte for a walk past the Sacred Lake while the three men are playing naked. Now this is a hysterical scene! Cecil is not one of the "natural" men. He is "one of the ladies" trying to defend them from the men, clearing a path in the brush so they do not have to directly walk past the lake. In another scene, Cecil is annoyed by Freddy's humorous, very "middle class", singing at the piano, so is forced outside into the unknown natural world because he prefers this to being with the lower classes.
To conclude, I will leave you with another quote from the novel:
"Yes, we fight for more than Love or Pleasure, there is Truth. Truth counts, Truth does count."
The 1986 film version of A Room with a View is available for immediate viewing on Netflix. I hope you will consider my recommendation and watch it for yourself.
This film gets a perfect 5 stars from me.