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Showing 1-10 of 84 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 138 reviews
on May 8, 2014
If you were thinking this version might be similar to The Heiress (1949) think again.
I was not particularly interested in seeing the blood soaked sheets of a woman that just gave birth, or the urine streaming down
from a little girl embarrassed to perform in public. And then Morris meets Aunt Penniman in a sordid part of town where prostitutes meet customers behind torn muslin and while Morris and Livina are conversing, you hear the grunts and moaning in the background.
Jennifer Jason Leigh's portrayal of Catherine Sloper left me wondering what (if any) direction she received during the course of filming. When she and Morris are initially introduced at the party to announce her cousin's engagement, she trips and nearly falls several times....it was way over the top. She acted more like a stroke victim than a shy, introverted girl with no self confidence.
I thought Ben Chaplin (Morris) was about the only character that was believable of all the cast.
Albert Finney is certainly a fine actor, but he plays Dr. Sloper more as the "mean" father than a disappointed parent.
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on May 2, 2017
The great Albert Finney, the great Jennifer Jason Leigh, the great Maggie Smith, the great, Oscar-winning (SCHINDLER'S LIST) production designer Allan Starski, carry us back to New York's Washington Square as seen through the eyes and the pen of that master of character and nuance, the novelist Henry James. Based on James' novel, and NOT on the very entertaining stage adaptation THE HEIRESS, WASHINGTON SQUARE is a meticulous recreation of a moment in history: social, cosmopolitan, and literary history. Heartrending, sensitive characterizations set in a letter-perfect period setting make this film a classic. Highly recommended!
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on September 28, 2015
My husband and myself both really enjoyed this movie. I thought the acting by Jennifer Jason Leigh was quite good and also by Ben Chaplin. But I felt Albert Finney was superb! I also very much enjoyed the book. Yes, they may have exaggerated her character to some degree, but being a person who suffers from social anxiety, and who also went through a supremely shy period in my adolescence, I can relate. They may have made her more inept in the movie, but I feel it didn't ruin the movie, as I just viewed it as her being someone who grew up in a household devoid of real love or any proper guidance for her lot in life. Plus the fact that she felt inferior because of that lack of love, and her fathers seething and insidious resentment and disappointment in her.
I normally, as I do now, rate a movie on it's superb and subtle acting and it's ability to be thought provoking and moving, which this movie had to some degree, but I did also enjoy the beauty of the film that was brought about by the direction and set design of Agnieszka Holland.
No, I would not put it on my top rated movies for acting ability, though, as I already stated there was some solid acting, and Albert Finney was a wonderfully awful father, with nice subtlety, and I really enjoyed the acting of the woman who played Albert Finney's sister - though I cannot remember her name.
All in all, for a modern American movie I feel it was about as top quality as you're going to get any more. There was a bit of caricaturistic acting by Maggie Smith and some light acting by others, but still somehow it was intriguing and enjoyable. I felt it was compelling and very interesting, and very poignant. I also feel the subject matter of the plainness (or less pejoratively - averageness) of a woman's appearance affecting her value as a desirable human, or wife is quite a sad commentary on societies mores and values.
That being said, I loved the movie! And I felt deeply for Catherine's unloved, devalued and tread upon character. I felt the ending had so many captivating emotions and reflections to chew upon.
I would definitely recommend this movie to those who don't depend upon the special effects and magical thinking of Hollywood to entertain them, but like good acting and good old fashioned stories, that absorb your thinking and emotional processes.
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on May 19, 2013
This is a compelling story about a wealthy physician who resides in New York. He loses his wife and son to birth complications. He has a daughter Catherine who is plain but sweet daughter. A young dashing fellow takes a deep interest in her, he treats her like she is the most beautiful woman he has ever met. Her father thinks he is a gold digger and goes to great lengths to protect her, she on the other hand is convinced its true love......who is right? The movie is well made, the characters have depth and the plot is well developed. This great novel has been compared to Jane Austen's works, which is all well and good....unfortunately Agnieszka Holland, the director, never fails to find a way to ruin a good thing. She tries a little too hard "Austen-ize" the story. She edits all signs of New York from the story, It took me a while to realize that the story takes place in New York and not some English Lord's estate in the British countryside. I found the faux British accents and mannerisms very distracting......the accent is a cross between American actors with a bad British accent and British actors with bad American accents......Was it really sanitize all things American from this movie? Washington Square had so much potential....sigh....i suppose i will always have the book.
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VINE VOICEon February 16, 2015
Washington Square was based on the book of the same name by Henry James, the author who also wrote Wings of a Dove and Portrait of a Lady. Going in, it helps to know that he is known for realism and also the dark nature of his work. If you are looking for a rollicking good time or romance, this is not it. This is more of an anti-romance.

The story is an entertaining one, even if it is somewhat confusing. The characters are not as fleshed out as they are in the book, so everything that hinges on having a clear sense of character (meaning everything), is weakened. It holds together, but is not as psychologically satisfying as it could be.

The actors are solid, but Leigh is a bit off. It's not her acting. She does a great job of being naive, then later, disillusioned, but she is just too old for the young part. It's distracting.

If you are looking for something different, I'd give it a shot. This is definitely not your typical Hollywood flick. It leaves you wondering... which is a good thing.
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on August 12, 2015
I have always enjoyed watching "The Heiress" starring Olivia De Havilland this remake of the film is extremely interesting and enjoyable. The costuming and sets are fabulous and the actors play their parts with feeling and authenticity. The ending of this film is completely different to the earlier one but it shows how the heroine did over a period of time develop independence and a strength of purpose. This I believe is due to the harsh and inconsiderate treatment metered out to her by the significant males in her life. This different ending to the film certainly re-enforces the strength that some of the women of this particular era developed in spite of their often humiliating and unjust treatment by the society of the day. The viewer is not left in doubt about the path that the heiress's life will take in the future.
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on January 31, 2015
Jennifer Jason Leigh's performances have been wonderful in every movie I have seen her in and this is no exception. She gives a stellar performance as a terribly wounded, but resilient character. I also enjoyed The Heiress, which was a play adaptation rather than a book adaptation as was this movie. I have to say, though, I think the WS version has a more uplifting ending then the revenge filled Katherine at the closing scene of The Heiress. In that movie she turned as heartless as her tormentors. It made for great drama, but in WS I like that Katherine redirects her devotion, rising above the men who were not worthy of her love in the first place. Though Olivia D's ending was more dramatic, this one gave you a better feeling at the end. Both movies are jam packed with great performances from talented casts. You really can't go wrong with either one. Henry James created memorable characters to be sure!
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on August 9, 2013
This isn't the first interpretation of Henry James's novel. The Heiress is rightly praised, and there may be others. However, the sets and the acting in this production makes it spectacular and moving. Jennifer Jason Leigh is touching and needy, her lonely situation particularly poignant. Maggie Smith, Albert Finney, Ben Chaplin, Judith Ivey--the entire cast--is pure gold. Washington Square itself becomes a main character, and a complex one, it is. I recommend this brutal movie about upper-middle class American life in nineteenth-century New York. It is particularly moving about a pampered yet abused child, comparable in its different way to Now Voyager with Bette Davis as the abused daughter of a monstrous mother rather than a cruel, cold father in this film, played by Albert Finney. I recommend watching to those who've read the novel, seen The Heiress and Now Voyager, but also to those who like films about earlier times and those who like films about children trying to grow up and be loved in any country, any century.
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on October 31, 2016
This is a delightful story in many ways, but very emotionally wrought with a tinge of underlying darkness. There is a blend of sunshine, family, and growing shadows. Hope of good things arrives with romance, weddings and babies entering the family scene but one can never ignore the growing uneasiness lying right below the surface.
I found this movie to be very satisfying. Anyone familiar with author Henry James's works will be expecting the masterful twists he puts in his stories. I recommend this movie.
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on November 16, 2013
This is a remake of the 1949 film "The Heiress" starring Olivia deHavilland. Jennifer Jason Leigh capably takes over the role of the single, wealthy daughter of a doctor. There are changes in it that let you know you are watching a different movie,and is lovely as a period piece in color. Katharine (Leigh) is a plain young woman, clumsy, tongue-tied, and could be destined to become a spinster until the handsome Morris seeks her out and begins to court her, soon proposing. She is swept off her feet, but her father thinks Morris is only after her money and tries to make her see his point of view. When her father takes away the extra inheritance she would get from him, will Morris still want to marry her, or leave her in the lurch? The prior role of the Aunt, played earlier by Miriam Hopkins, is played well by Maggie Smith.
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