Lily Bart, a socialite in turn of the century New York, learns the precariousness of her position when her beauty starts attracting unwelcome interest and jealousy. — Genre: Feature Film-Drama — Rating: PG — Release Date: 29-... more »MAY-2001
This is an amazing movie. A beautifully made period piece with uncanny great acting. The plot and the settings are mesmerizing. The costumes ring true. Gillian Anderson and Laura Linney are perfection in their very different roles. Eric Stoltz and Dan Akroyd, both in roles very unlike their norm, are excellent also. This movie is spellbinding, it draws you right in and the ending is a huge disappointment.... but only because it means the story is over.
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LOVE AND HONOR AT WHAT PRICE...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 08/20/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In this beautifully costumed and lavish period piece based upon Edith Wharton's novel of the same name, Gillian Anderson gives an inspired and luminous performance as Lily Bart, a rising young New York socialite who is ultimately done in by a ruthless friend , deliciously played by Laura Tinney, who cruelly sacrifices Lily to save her own reputation.The dry repartee in which Lily engages and passes for wit in this bygone era sets the tone for the film. It is a carefully orchestrated show in which marriageable society girls engage in order to snag the wealthiest suitor. While Lily Bart is the cream of the crop, she has the misfortune to have given her heart to a socially acceptable, yet financially constrained, lawyer, Laurence Selden, wonderfully portrayed by Eric Stoltz. Her heart claimed by this most unsuitable of suitors, she dallys, refusing to commit to any others, while her star is still on the ascent.Lily finds herself making an unwise financial transaction which puts her at the mercy of an unscrupulous and smarmy financial investor named Gus Trennor, well played by Dan Akroyd. When he puts Lily in a compromising position in return for the money he now claims that she owes him, she indignantly spurns his advances and incurs his emnity. Meanwhile, her aunt, upon whom Lily is financially dependent, hearing of her financial indiscretion, is appalled and vitually cuts Lily out of her will, leaving her a small determinate sum, rather than making Lily her sole heir as expected.Meanwhile, her friend, devilishly played by Laura Tinney, is on the verge of having her marital indiscretions made known to her circle of society friends. She throws everyone off the scent by cutting her friend Lily in a most public fashion with all the attendant insinuations from which much may be inferred. This has the net effect of causing Lily to fall totally into social disgrace. Her star is now very much on the descent.When her aunt dies, and Lily is left virtually penniless, Lily finds herself alone and on a downward spiral, forced to earn her daily bread for the first time in her life. Abandoned by her friends, she despairs, even though she has the means of regaining her former status at her fingertips, would her information not also sully the reputation of her true love, Lawrence Selden, as well as that of the false friend who brought her to this point. To her detriment, she takes the high road of love and honor. Too late, Selden realizes the sacrifice that Lily has made on his behalf.What happens to Lily and why is an interesting study of human frailties, class consciousness, social status, and honor. This film is a beautifully and richly costumed period piece with bravura perfomances by the entire cast. Those who are fond of period dramas will surely enjoy this film."
A Film Of Great Emotional Depth
Jay Fenton | Washington, PA USA | 06/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD.Director Terence Davies sensitively directs a fine group of actors who portray the characters in Edith Wharton's most famous novel. THE HOUSE OF MIRTH is an excellent art house presentation with the added allure of Gillian Anderson in the uncharacteristic role of Lily Bart-----a beautiful, vulnerable, but shortsighted woman who knows what she wants but is driven to pass up every opportunity for a "brilliant" marriage to a scion of New York society. Miss Anderson's personality is a bit too modern for the role of Lily, but she does a commendable job in the part. There is perhaps a bit too much of a feminist message in her comments on a woman's role in society. We are, after all, seeing the events of a century ago, and judging the past by present day standards always gives the sense of belatedly condemning history. But despite the cross-cutting of emotions, class and subtle sexism, the general theme of the story is that most people find out the truth about themselves and their milieu too late. Eric Stoltz is remarkably affecting as Lawrence Seldom, a man who understands Lily, the world, but not himself. The scene in the garden at the Trenor party where he and Lily almost declare their love for each other is one of the most memorable I've seen in years. Anthony LaPaglia as the social climbing businessman and Dan Aykroyd as the lustful Gus Trenor are right on the mark with their characters. Terry Kinney as the weak-willed George Dorset has an understated intensity that few actors could successfully convey. Laura Linney as his malicious and scheming wife Bertha turns in an excellent performance as the woman who dramatically delivers the coup de grace to Lily's social ambitions. The standout for me, though, is Jodhi May who plays Grace Stepney. Her face can show conflicting nuances of emotion that deeply affect the viewer. Where has this actress been hiding? There are scenes between her and other actors where she is saying one thing, yet conveying quite a different meaning to the audience through her facial expression that are positively heartbreaking. One scene in particular has her turning Lily down for a desperately needed cash advance in the full knowledge that her denial will end in tragedy for Lily. She denies her the money for supposedly moral reason, yet has tears of regret in her eyes because of the jealousy that is making her do it. Portraying a conflict of emotions in a single character is a rare talent and Miss May's ability is magnificent.Let's hope we see more of this very gifted actress and that her next role will be more prominent. Hers is a performance not to be missed in a film of great emotional depth.Jay F."
The House of Wharton
Dan Balogh | New Jersey, USA | 03/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""I have tried hard, but life is difficult, and I am a very useless person."So opines the tragic Lily Bart (Gillian Anderson) in Terence Davies superb adaptation of Edith Wharton's blistering indictment of the vacuous, convention-constraining life of New York society in the early 20th century. Gillian Anderson is stunning as the waveringly unconfident Lily whose tenacious morality is unsuited to a world where insincere people idle away endless hours in gossip and back-stabbing. Her lack of ruthlessness causes her irrevocable downward slide over the course of the film's two years.The beautiful Gillian Anderson, in her juiciest role to date, dominates the entire film, gracing virtually every scene. Her Lily is entirely believable, earnestly trying to follow the rules to support her plush lifestyle, by speaking with affected tones and mannerisms, and feigning a stiff upper lip during the many adversities she encounters. But she only follows the rules half way, and when the chickens come home to roost, her deep vulnerability leads to a heartbreaking catharsis. Anderson's performance is doubtless one of the best performances of 2000 (male or female), all the more amazing when one considers that she wasn't even rewarded with an Oscar nomination, the same slight that befell Bjork who was absolutely superb in Von Trier's Dancer in the Dark. What a pity.Terence Davies' facile treatment of the material admirably maintains Wharton's restraint, faithful to the era. The audience, sensitized to the "civility" of the period, shudders when the emotional confrontations arrive -- confrontations based on mere insults or raised eyebrows which are no less powerful than had they been punctuated with the physical violence which accompanies modern day fare. Special mention should also be made of the gorgeous photography of Remi Adefarasin whose camera soaks up the Renoir-like beauty of the era at every turn. An altogether remarkable film."
In a word..."WOW"
murphy12 | Atlanta, GA | 06/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"'The House of Mirth' is an outstanding film that for some reason was practically ignored by the press, the critics and the academy. After you see it, you'll wonder why this is the case as well.Director Terrence Davies manages to adequately capture the time period and the screenplay is perfectly in line with the Wharton novel. Shot on location in Scotland, the architecture, breathtaking backgrounds and costuming adequately set the stage for a realistic and definitive period piece. But it is the acting in this film that makes you sit up and take notice. Eric Stoltz easily captures the troubled Selden Lawrence, torn between his true feelings and his well-known financial shortcomings. Dan Ackroyd plays the vile, manipulative Gus Trenor, who clearly has his own agenda. Laura Linney takes self-absorption to a whole new level as she gleefully sacrifices her loyal friend to save herself. Anthony LaPaglia creates a character that is distasteful, boorish and somehow lovable as he desparately tries to convince Lily Bart to use the power that she possesses to pull herself up at the expense of another. However, all are completely overshadowed by Gillian Anderson, who is nothing short of phenomenal in her portrayal of Lily Bart. She manages to capture the true spirit of this tragic heroine, scene after scene. Anderson expertly reveals every aspect of this character and clearly depicts the downfall of Lily Bart as she is transformed from the object of every man's desire (and every women's jealousy) into a tragic, desperate woman who is cruelly thrown into the scrap pile of society. Anderson's performance is breathtaking as she weaves raw, yet subtle emotion into every word and action, taking the viewer along for the ride as Lily Bart makes tragic mistakes, takes the wrong advice and ultimately sacrifices herself for her own moral convictions. If you've read the book, you simply have to see this film. If you haven't read the Edith Wharton novel, you still have to see it. Anderson's performance alone is worth it. I highly recommend this film and I still can't understand why this film was not given the attention that it deserves."
A Beautiful Piece
email@example.com | USA | 08/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Beautiful. Stunning. Astonishing. Heartwrenching.All these describe The House of Mirth, the movie based on Edith Wharton's 1905 novel, a piece so utterly overwhelming in its visual and literary beauty that the viewer ends up feeling somewhat drained by the experience. Drained in a wonderful way.When was the last time you sat down and watched a movie and connected fully with the main characters? If it's been a while--and I know it had been for me--then this movie is for you. The film follows the beautiful Miss Lily Bart, a twenty-nine-year-old single socialite who cannot be accused of having good luck...at all. The film is based upon Wharton's novel, and the novel must be classified as a naturalist piece, even by the most optimistic of critics. Viewers find themselves drawn to Miss Bart, even as they want to cry out, "No, Lily! Think!" Lily becomes the most intriguing, endearing character due to Gillian Anderson's astonishing portrayal, the perfect combination of poise, restraint, and emotion, not to mention the feminine wiles that characterize the always beguiling Miss Lily Bart. Anderson, the long-time star of the cult television classic The X-Files, won the best actress award for the film at both The Village Voice Film Critics' Poll and The British Independent Film Awards in 2000. And trust me, she deserves it.Other than Ms. Anderson's lovely portrayal, the film also includes performances by Dan Aykroyd (and he is surprisingly wonderful), Terry Kinney, Anthony LaPaglia, Laura Linney (of You Can Count on Me), and the gorgeous Eric Stoltz, whom many have called a younger Colin Firth/Mr. Darcy of The House of Mirth. They all put in beautiful performances.Simply trust me when I tell you that this film will change your way of thinking, not to mention your way of feeling. It's worth the buy."