The happiest thing about Terence Davies’ “The House of Mirth” is that it’s such a mesmerizing downer. Edith Wharton’s 1905 novel was more than an exquisite chronicle of upper-echelon etiquette. It was, at its most forceful, parodic and vividly damning, an American tragedy. Davies (“Distant Voices, Still Lives,” “The Neon Bible”), here at his least florid and most unaffected, fashions an adaptation with an equal measure of damnation.
January 12, 2001