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About the Movie
Riveting performances from an all-star cast highlight this passionate tale of a young heiress who must choose between love or money! Jennifer Jason Leigh is Catherine, a lonely young woman in search of happiness until she is swept off her feet by the handsome Morris Townsend (Ben Chaplin). Suspicious of the young man's true intentions, however, her controlling father (Albert Finney) threatens to disown Catherine if she follows her heart and marries against his wishes!
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 28
- Fresh: 23
- Rotten: 5
- Average Rating: 7.3/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Rotten: There's isn't much tension here, and, if anything, the film is stolen by Maggie Smith and Judith Ivey as Finney's sisters.
If you're a real romantic like me this movie is not for you. Nobody lives happily ever after and it doesn't seem that anybody learns anything unless you assume that she learns not to trust people from the jerk who tried to marry her for her money! What a waste of my money!
Solid movie, loyal to James' work
This film does a fair job of doing what so many film adaptations of successful and influential books fail to do - or don't even attempt to do - and that is stay consistent with the literal and artistic presentation of the original written work. Jennifer Jason Leigh plays a convincing Catherine, with her mumbling and flailing presentation of the female protagonist/wall-flower providing a tangible target to her manipulators. Ben Chaplin gives some actual depth to Morris, making him almost sympathetic in some scenes, and Albert Finney plays the role of the curmudgeon of a father ably. Maggie Smith and Judith Ivey are predictable scene-stealers. When Holland's interpretation of the book breaks from the original work, it makes sense and updates it, even if not everyone will care for it.
If you are a fan of the book this movie will, for most of you, be an enjoyable companion to it, if not an illuminating vision that provides genuinely new perspectives. If you're a student looking to see the movie versoin of the book, watch out - there's just enough difference in the movie to give away the true source of where you got your material. :)
But if you are simply a fan of romantic movies this may not be for you. Henry James' book asked some real questions about love, money, parents, social and gender roles, and all those pain -in-the-neck questions your high school or college English teacher or professor aksed from you, and Holland's movie at least attempts to do so as well, albeit with a slightly more modern take on it. If you're looking for 'Poor boy goes after Rich Girl' then this may or may not work for you.
All in all, it's enjoyable, and anyone who enjoys Henry James, period pieces, Jennifer Jason Leigh, or Maggie Smith will find it worth the time.