Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Room With a View (1985) - 7 stars out of 10

A Room With a View (1985) - 7 stars out of 10

"A Room With a View" is a classic-but-predictable story.  Its Oscar wins for Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction, and its nomination for Best Cinematography are no surprise as you take in the vivid Victorian-era costumes and the stunning landscape shots from Florence and England.  It went toe-to-toe with “The Mission” in these categories and its victories are a true compliment against such a strong competitor.  The cinematography is beautiful.  The extensive naked scene in the lake is... way too extensive.  Outside of the visual aspects, the film is most notable for its Oscar-nominated performances by Maggie Smith and Denholm Elliot.  Daniel Day-Lewis lives up to his reputation as a chameleon, harnessing his inner entitlement as if he grew up rich and knew nothing else.  Simon Callow is magnificent as Reverend Beebe and it is mindbending to see Helena Bonham Carter A. at a young age and B. wearing normal attire.  Unfortunately, the film does have its weaknesses.  I completely disagree with the Oscar win for Best Adapted Screenplay.  Maybe it is the delivery, but much of the dialogue feels clunky and fake.  This could also be due to much of the dialogue sounding like it was rerecorded in a sound studio afterwards.  The film has a lot of outdoor scenes but the fake-sounding audio is a big distraction.  I also found the film to move a bit slow, though it provides an interesting story with its theme of the breakdown of Victorian ideals in favor of the free-thinking world.  Pair the slow pacing with the ability to predict most of the film within the first 10 minutes and it proves itself to be an exercise in focusing for an extended period of time.  The slow movement of the film is tempered by a great operatic soundtrack, the likes of which will leave you unable to listen to the beautiful "O mio babbino caro" again without thinking of this film.  “A Room With a View” is an interesting story set on a beautiful backdrop, but its predictability makes it difficult to watch more than once.

[Pictured: The movie is a bit slow, but the view is fantastic.]

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