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The House of Mirth

161 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The glittering yet treacherous world of New York high society comes to brilliant life in the heartbreaking story of Lily Bart (Gillian Anderson, TV's "The X-Files"), a renowned beauty of exquisite charm who seeks a wealthy husband but, in a series of tragic events, winds up disgraced and discarded.Adapted from Edith Wharton's novel, and directed by Terence Davies (Distant Voices, Still Lives), THE HOUSE OF MIRTH is an intelligent, dramatic sensation, which features an outstanding supporting all-star cast including Laura Linney (You Can Count on Me), Eric Stoltz (Pulp Fiction), Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters) and Anthony LaPaglia (Sweet and Lowdown).


Special Features

  • Deleted scenes with director's commentary

Product Details

  • Actors: Gillian Anderson, Dan Aykroyd, Laura Linney, Elizabeth McGovern, Eric Stoltz
  • Directors: Terence Davies
  • Producers: Olivia Stewart
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 29, 2001
  • Run Time: 135 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CXSA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,714 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The House of Mirth" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 98 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 20, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
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 Linney, 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 Linney, is on the verge of having her marital indiscretions made known to her circle of society friends.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Jay Fenton on June 7, 2001
Format: DVD
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.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Dan Balogh on March 28, 2001
Format: DVD
"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.
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