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Zimmerview's Review

Created Aug 25, 2013 04:19PM PST • Edited Aug 25, 2013 04:19PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    Based on E.M. Forster’s novel of “the love that dare not speak its name” , MAURICE follows the relationship between two men who meet at Cambrige University in Edwardian England, and their exploration of homosexual love in a time when being gay was a crime punishable by a strict penile code that included imprisonment, hard labor, and the complete and utter destruction of one’s social standing.

    Although the film’s main focus is on the development of the title character, it’s sense of the attitude of the day regarding homosexual love is reflected in the eyes of both Maurice and his schoolmate, Clive, as each discovers that love in that era has a difficult time surviving the prejudice of social mores in a rigid, repressive society.
  3. Great 4.0

    The performances of James Wilby (Maurice Hall), and Hugh Grant(Clive Durham), are the glue that binds the story and the viewer to the anguish of supression and unrequited love that is the very heart of this tale. Handled with a deftness and subtlety, both actors manage to pull on the heartstrings of even the most hardened viewer without ever giving in to sentimentality.

    The supporting cast, led by the smoldering, penetrating performance of Rupert Graves as the gameskeeper Alec Scudder, is in fine form, rounding out the delicately painted picture of a society in transition from the very strict Victorian code of ethics to a move inquisitve, albiet timid, exploration of a world less restrictive at the turn of the century.

  4. Male Stars Great 4.0

    The three male leads (James Wilby, Hugh Grant, and Rupert Graves), all turn in top-notch performances. Easily Wilby’s best performance to date, his Maurice is a complex, delicately textured mix of curiosity, conflict, passion, and angst.

    Likewise, Hugh Grant’s Clive is an intricate compilation of a man who is struggling with his sexual identity and the pressures of responsibility that his station in society require of him. Gran’ts rendering of a tortured soul is restrained and nuanced so tragically that the viewer is compelled to feel for him, even as he surrenders to the conventions of the day at the expence of realizing his heart’s true desire.

    As the gameskeeper Alec Scudder, Rupert Graves gives a raw, sexually charged performance that is fiery without ever becoming vulgar. It is his performance that fuels the primal tension and lustful drive of Maurice’s transition in the story.

  5. Female Stars Great 4.0

    The female cast members are all in fine form, though none of the female characters figure very prominantly in the story. Nearly all of the female characters are oblivious to the underlying passions of the men, which is in keeping with their place in Edwardian society. In a day when women were treated as ornamental extensions of their men, the female cast does a fine job of conveying a certain content with their treatment, only hinting at their desire to know and be more in their world.

  6. Female Costars Great 4.0
  7. Male Costars Great 4.0

    In a film fueled by testosterone and lust, the male costars round-out the story finely, creating an environment of entitlement to a world made for and run solely by men. While Simon Callow, Denholm Elliot, and Ben Kingsley all do good turns in their respective roles, it is Patrick Godfrey who stands out as Simcox, the Durham family butler. As the only character (apart from the three leads) who has a “knowing” of what is going on beneath the surface of character’s outward behavior. His prickly, condescending leers and quips provide a sense of threat from within that compliments the threats from society in general.

  8. Great 4.0

    The experienced and incredibly talented team of James Ivory and Ismail Merchant have crafted an exceptional film full of both the grandeur and repression of Forster’s novel with an attention to detail unrivaled by any of their contemporaries, save perhaps Sir David Lean. This is , to me, their best collaboration, as it fully embodies the atmosphere of Forster’s semi-autobiographic work.

    Film locales and sets are impeccable, as is the costuming of this period piece. Sparing nothing in order to fully immerse the viewer into the world of Edwardian England, production values are of the highest quality achievable.

  9. Direction Great 4.0

    Even handed, steady, and controlled without ever becoming dull or lifeless, James Ivory’s direction is a masterful work, painting with broad strokes the attitude and grandeur of the day, while his finer strokes detail a moving and incredibly intimate picture. Having established the background of the day’s mores, he allows his characters to breathe freely, revealing the complexity of their emotions with precision and passion.

  10. Play Great 4.0

    The novel upon which the film is based is very likely Forster’s most moving work, owing much of the sense of truth and passion to his own closeted life and struggle with his own sexuality. The story is allegedly inspired by the relationship between Forster and his gardner.

    The Kit Hesketh-Harvey / James Ivory screenplay is faithful to the novel, ripe with the language of the period and beautifully conveying the passion of the piece with respect for the author’s intent.

  11. Music Great 4.0

    Richard Robbin’s original score holds both delicate tension and sweeping passion, and serves as a character in the film – that of we, the observers. Always appropriate and never overstated, the music supports and completes the creation of the beautiful and complex world of Maurice.

  12. Visuals Great 4.0

    Pierre Lhomme’s cinamatography is brilliant, capturing the vibrant color of the film’s locales, as well as the intimacy of each character’s performance. It is a sumptuous feast for the eyes, filled to the brim with color and atmosphere.

  13. Content
  14. Risqué 1.7

    Being a period piece, the subject matter was certainly risque’ for its time. However, in this day and age it hardly seems bawdy in the least.

  15. Sex Titillating 1.7

    Sexual tension is at the heart of this story, and is represented with a faithfulness to man’s deepest desires. Homosexual men (and many heterosexual females) will find this frustrated expression of love and lust arousing and familiar.

  16. Violence Fierce 1.7

    The brutality of the few violent scenes in the film is palpable: the viewer truly feels the blows of both society’s injustice and the passionate lashing out of its main characters.

  17. Rudeness Salty 1.7

    Owing to the restrained attitudes of the period, the limited rudeness presented in the film is all the more potent. Jaded filmgoers of the day will find it timid, if only for a lack of understanding of the time in which the story is set.

  18. Natural 1.0

    There isn’t a false moment in the film Beyond being plausible, there isn’t a scene which feels forced in any way.

  19. Circumstantial Natural 1.0

    The circumstances surrounding the predicaments of the story’s main characters are thoroughly logical, if heartbreakinly unfortunate.

  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0

    One of the film’s major themes posits the question of what is natural and what is not. In post-Victorian England, society as a whole was just beginning to delve into the nature of love which, in today’s world, has expanded quite a bit to encompass and embrace same-sex love as part of the natural world.


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Aug 25, 2013 4:33PM

Regarding Zimmerview’s Review
Excellent first review Zimmerview. Welcome aboard.