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|The Golden Bowl|
Based on the Henry James novel, The Golden Bowl earns a regal place in the long line of lavish Ismail Merchant and James Ivory productions casting spectacular mise en scène in the lead role. The crumbling Italian palazzo t... more »
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Sandra S. (ratracesandra) from CUMMING, GA
Reviewed on 1/7/2009...
Wonderfully powerful movie of family, love, & lies.....
2 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Northam Makes the Film
Beth Johnston | 10/10/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Unlike other reviewers, I haven't read _The Golden Bowl_ and I hate Henry James. Perhaps that's why I adored this film. Visually, it is even more sumptuous than most Merchant and Ivory films. But what makes the movie more than just a pretty package is Jeremy Northam, who in addition to being stunningly handsome as ever, delivers a performance of depth and nuance. Along with his wonderful roles in _Emma_ and _The Winslow Boy_, the part of Amerigo should help establish Northam as one of the best actors around, up there in my mind with Kenneth Branagh and . . . well I can't think of many others as good. Kate Beckinsale is also astonishing in this film, doing a much better job of playing an ingenue who finds unknown inner strength in a time of need than Winona Ryder did in _The Age of Innocence_. And the ever-reliable Nick Nolte delivers a believable, complex performance. The only thing that made this film a four-star rather than five-star film in my book was the appalling performance of Uma Thurman, who is so bad that at the climax of the film, when she delivers what should be the most poignant line of the movie, I actually burst out laughing in the theatre (very embarrassing). I can't think why directors haven't noticed that Ms. Thurman is these days merely a pretty face, but the rest of the cast and the production was stellar, and the story gripped my interest throughout."
Stunning, flawless adapation of Henry James novel
igabriela | 05/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To do this magnificent film justice, I can only quote from Kevin Thomas' review in the Los Angeles Times: " "The Golden Bowl" is yet another Merchant Ivory triumph, with impeccable performances and equally flawless, grand period settings. As in previous films, the venerable team makes the past as immediate and vital as the present, summoning a vanquished world in such detail and perception that it is possible to see ourselves in people and places that would seem far removed."As worthy of Henry James, the dialog of the screen adaptation is brilliant: the intrigue and suspense are developed by the clever double entendres as the characters eloquently let one another know they are aware of the duplicity in their relationships while never speaking overtly of their suspicions. Nick Nolte displays impressive, nuanced subtlety in his acting; Uma Thurman, as always, is elegant and incandescent, her acting perfection.The settings in Italian castles and British grand estates alone are worth a trip to the theater; the costumes are opulent and beautifully designed. This film held our undivided attention from the first moment to the end. If you like films of this genre, do not miss it. "The Golden Bowl" is one of the best movies we have seen in many years, worthy of the top Oscar nominations."
A portrait of a marriage
Gwen A Orel | Millburn, New Jersey United States | 12/11/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I found this movie fascinating. I have not read the book, though I have read much of James. In the movie, at least, it is not at all clear that Amerigo would rather be with Charlotte, and is marrying Maggie only for the money. It seems instead that he is marrying Maggie in hopes of a happy life (which yes, includes money) but that he allows Charlotte to think he still loves her so she can save face. Charlotte chases Amerigo all through the movie and though she finally manages to seduce him, it's true what the Colonel says to his wife, that he doesn't really care for her. He admires her and is attracted to her but he doesn't love her.In contrast, he clearly does love Maggie and his son. He doesn't admire her until he first hears her say she doesn't like someone; at that moment she becomes more interesting to him, and when she confronts him, he falls in love with her. Somehow this all made perfect sense to me. In some way by Maggie pretending not to see she also let him think she didn't care. When he realizes what his choices are, there is simply no contest.It didn't seem to me that Maggie was manipulative in getting her father to take Charlotte away, although I suppose she was-- but it also was kind.Anyway, maybe it's just that I saw this after the Sopranos finale (!) but I thought this was one of the most nuanced depictions of the levels in human relationships, particularly in marriage, that I've ever seen captured on film.it's also beautiful to look at. A fascinating film in every respect."