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From Academy Award winning Merchant Ivory Productions, creators of A Room with a View, Howards End and The Remains of the Day, comes Cotton Mary, the captivating story of an Anglo-Indian woman haunted by the specter of colonialism. The sensual tale unfolds with Madhur Jaffrey playing a military nurse desperate to be a part of the British upperclass of 1954 India. When a chance encounter with the naive Lily Macintosh, played by Greta Scacchi, lets her into this exclusive and privileged world, she finds that staying in this world is even more difficult than getting there. Set against the spectacular backdrop of the exotic and lush South Indian coastline, Cotton Mary takes you on one woman's search to find her place at any cost and how far she will go to keep herself there once she has arrived.
The Merchant Ivory production company (which were also responsible for A Room With a View, Howard's End, and The Remains of the Day, among others) is the driving force behind Cotton Mary, the story of an Anglo-Indian nurse obsessed with becoming part of the British upper class. When Lily (Greta Scacchi from White Mischief and The Player) gives birth to a baby girl, she's unable to produce milk. Cotton Mary (Madhur Jaffrey) promises to take care of the child and secretly takes the baby to her sister, a wet nurse. Soon Lily feels dependent on Mary for the baby's health, and she takes the nurse into her home. Mary immediately starts to consolidate her power in the household by poisoning Lily's mind against the other servants and trying to get her relatives hired in their place. But when Lily's husband John hires Mary's attractive niece as a translator, the resulting affair threatens to unravel all of Mary's plans. Cotton Mary is beautifully filmed, with a sharp eye for the hypocrisies of colonialism. The setting of southern India makes for some vivid images, particularly when Lily's older daughter gets lost in a late-night parade. Though the pace is slow, several scenes capture the mixture of social conflict and personal demons that drive Mary to scheme and manipulate everyone around her. --Bret Fetzer
Eh, it was good enough to give it three stars, but I don't think
its worth owning.
This satirical comedy drama seems to be lost on pretty much everyone who has commented on it. And while the story might seem ridiculous for some viewers, it will not be for anyone... Read morePublished 12 months ago by addison de witt
Cinematography beautiful, and less sentimental than some Merchant/Ivory pieces. Some good acting, Greta Scacchi especially, but also nice cameo pieces from reliable character... Read morePublished 12 months ago by A Listener
This isn't a review but I don't know where to ask. Does anyone know where I can get the soundtrack to "mmy country tis of thee" as played as an instrumental background in... Read morePublished 12 months ago by susankarami
Very stereotypical biased film. Disappointed in Merchant and IvoryPublished 13 months ago by Blair R. Williams
It was good and gave us a good insight into British India & the people who worked for them.Pleasant viewing.Published on July 19, 2013 by Rosemary
Merchant Ivory became a trusted name with the quality of its early films. With this one it loses all credibility. Unlikeable or illogical characters and almost no story. Read morePublished on May 15, 2013 by MovieMusic
Without doubt, this film is a feast for the eyes, but not for the mind.
It has a simple plot. Read more
Very well written...a good movie for people who have lived through the British era in India and not of pure Indian decent. Read morePublished on May 14, 2008 by B. mason