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The Golden Bowl
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I've read The Golden Bowl five times, at least. I have also seen most film and TV adaptations of James novels and novellas done since the 1970s and this one stands up very well under the double test: is it faithful to the book's spirit, is it a good film?
I loved this movie, have seen it twice and given it as a gift. I found it perfectly cast, filmed, and paced. TGB is a long dense intensely internal book but it has been faithfully rendered by a screenwriter who boldly brought the violence and threat at the core of the book forward in a fascinating sort of prologue, and made one of the book's most famous images, the Pagoda, part of a nightmare. Each time I see these sections I admire her ingenuity.
Uma Thurman broke my heart as the passionate, lonely, sensual Europeanized American who cannot have what she wants when she wants it. Yes, the part was played differently by Gayle Hunnicutt in the estimable British TV version, but so what? Thurman works because she makes it so clear how much more she wants Amerigo than the opposite and her verbal rebellion at one point is explosive (in a Jamesian way, of course).
Jeremy Northam is suitably lordly and devilishly handsome. His accent sounds just right to me, having been around Europeans who learned English from English speakers: the mix is sometimes inconsistent though charming.
Kate Beckinsale is just right as the limited innocent whose innocence is a kind of cruelty and watching her grow up, make the sacrifices she needs to while fighting through the pain of terrible awareness was haunting. Nick Nolte was sublime as the phlegmatic wealthy collector. You feel the roughness behind his suavity and the world-weariness.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A delightful approximation of the great American novel. Read it before viewing this film adaptation.Published 10 days ago by WB
Based on a novel by Henry James, this movie has a great cast and acting. The scenery and the sets are fantastic. Read morePublished 4 months ago by complainer Dan
This movie is a favorite of mine because of the interpersonal relationships of the characters. It is lushly glamorous in it's production and very well acted.Published 5 months ago by Joyce Fuhr