I have seen only two Merchant-Ivory films, but both are among the finest of the entire 1990s. This is a gorgeous, lyrical film, and while I might slightly prefer The Remains of the Day, this is itself a truly great movie.
an engrossing, decadent feast for the eyes. this was a four-star movie for me until about an hour into the film when the marriage and love-triangle stuff convoluted the likeability and humor that'd built up to that point. (i understand that this is an adaptation though so there's no way to avoid the plot shift). overall, very rewatchable. everyone likes a peek into the social nonsense of wealthy white people.
The characters grow and change during the story, especially in the book. The film reduces some of the characters (Leonard, Jacky, Dolly and Charles) to stereotypes. James Ivory showed the atmosphere Forster created, and that doesn't seem easy to do. The film's as symbolic as the novel.
The Merchant Ivory dressing-up box at its most lushly lyrical, which wields Forster’s social scalpel with deft, if obvious, charm. For a change, less occupied with the mantel piece than with the drama in front of it, this is a straight-forwardly honest adaptation with adamant performances provide a welcome forward trajectory to MI’s often pedestrian dawdle.