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Carrington Reviews

Page 1 of 5
John B

Super Reviewer

October 28, 2007
Not a very memorable film from Emma Thompson et al but it is one that reminds me about how lucscious she used to be. Yum Yum :)
Alec B

Super Reviewer

June 21, 2013
As Strachey, Pryce is brilliant but the film seems to lack a coherent narrative. Basically we just see two sad artists be sad for two hours without ever getting a sense of what drew them together.
jjb3332003
April 30, 2010
Solid biopic about the artist. Great cast, beautiful music, and well-directed. Like many movies of this nature that are so introspective it's hard to completely portray what the characters are feeling and thinking, but there is one point during the middle of the movie where Carrington is sitting in the yard at night watching the people in their respective rooms go about their business that does one of the best jobs of capturing a moment I have seen on film. It was also interesting to see the portrayal of Gerald Brenan, whom I had seen in another well-made movie - South From Granada.
gms1yygy
May 28, 2008
The acting is very good, the story is interesting mostly, but it just isn't captivating. An insite into the lives of some of the British upper class during the first world war and into the sexual revolution that followed the end of the Victorian age. Well done, but not compelling.
zeiko18
December 12, 2006
Relentlessly bleak- people who spend so much time wallowing in their own preciousness and oddness that you just pray for it to conclude.
August 14, 2014
Non so perché, ma sono straordinariamente e appassionatamente affezionato a questo film.
February 9, 2014
saw it many times - one of my favorites - what's wrong with you people!?
January 16, 2012
A fantastic film exploring two characters who impossibly fall in love with one another. Of course my rating is biased.
January 22, 2011
One of my favourite films for the witty script, gorgeous colour, great music, psychological analysis visually illuminated and subtle acting.
November 5, 2010
simply overwhelming...
David Almeida
April 19, 2010
(from The Watermark, 01/04/96)
An interesting, though sometimes unfocused, study of love vs. passion. The film is the true story of painter Dora Carrington and the platonic relationship she shares with author Lytton Strachey. They are in love with each other, even though Strachey is gay. They decide to set up house together, abandoning all of England's accepted social structures. The performances by Pryce and Thompson are captivating, though at times the film seems too blandly directed for a story about such a consuming and impossible love. QQ: Lots of gay stuff going on with Pryce's character which is all very matter-of-fact; a positive social scenario, indeed.
Ann L.
February 16, 2010
CARRINGTON

Slow. Talky. This film has the timeless quality of a good Masterpiece Theater production. It is biographical in one sense, however, the title is misleading because the story per se is not about the life of the artist Dora de Houghton Carrington. The drama is about her personal relationship with the British writer Lytton Strachey from their initial meeting in 1915 to her suicide at age 38 after his death from cancer in 1932. We find out how the two met, we see the attraction that they felt for each other, we learn how it was that they became involved, and we understand what were to be the lasting affects each had on the other's life. Whether or not theirs was indeed a loving bond is a decision that is left up to the viewer to make one way or another. What is true nevertheless is that within the 17-year time frame on which the movie focuses, Lytton achieves peer recognition and success in his literary career while Dora comes to be her most productive artistically--in fact the story showcases the body of her most important work. The film features good performances. It was shot on location.
JanetWHardy
January 29, 2007
Although writer/director Christopher Hampton has adapted his [i]Carrington[/i] from Michael Holroyd?s biography of Lytton Strachey, he has chosen to focus his story on the complex and fascinating character of Strachey?s longtime platonic life partner, painter Dora Carrington.

This film has a lot of plot, with characters drifting in and out as their lives and loves dictate, but its story is simple: Carrington (Emma Thompson), a talented and tomboyish bluestocking, meets the frail, Wildean Strachey (Jonathan Pryce) and falls in love with him in spite of his avowed preference for young men. They move in together and live happily until his death, after which she commits suicide rather than face life without him.

Hampton has chosen to create a film that offers a lot of questions and not many answers (an admirable alternative to the preponderance of films that portray love, desire and marriage as monolithic and inevitable). It is remarkable, then, that [i]Carrington [/i]succeeds in being deeply, epically moving ? we understand this love story in our hearts even as we struggle with it in our heads.

One of the ambiguities Hampton has chosen not to pursue is the historical Carrington?s bisexuality, perhaps feeling that it would further muddy an already confusing array of friends and lovers. In fact, bisexuality is the elephant in the room in [i]Carrington: [/i]the actual Strachey and Carrington were both functionally bisexual, occasionally sharing both male and female lovers. The 21st-century viewer, steeped in post-identity-politics culture ranging from Judith Butler to [i]Will and Grace, [/i]would perhaps accept the sexual fluidity of Carrington, Strachey and the other Bloomburyites more readily than did audiences in 1995 when the film was released (and almost certainly more readily than they would have in 1976 when it was first written). But as far as this script is concerned, Strachey is 100% gay (he prefers to refer to himself as a ?bugger?), Carrington 100% heterosexual, and the film is weakened by the oversimplification.

Carrington, both the historical artist and the film character, is a complex and contradictory figure: an accomplished artist who paints only for her own and her friends? pleasure; a feminist who is admittedly happiest when subordinating her desires to those of her beloved; androgynous in her affect but nurturing in her affections. At the outset of the film she is still a virgin at twenty-two, to the despair of her friends, most particularly of her suitor Mark Gernsler (Rufus Sewell). She accuses him of desiring, not her, but her body. ?I am my body,? he replies angrily ? but the physical awkwardness with which Thompson imbues Carrington argues that this is not the case for her, that she is most emphatically not her body, and that she would in fact prefer to be free of the damn thing.

When Strachey first sees Carrington, he mistakes her for the boy that she later confesses she wishes she were ? an easy mistake, given her rough bowl haircut and corduroy knickers. When she tells him of her wish to be male, he is plainly moved; he attempts to kiss her. Shocked and furious, she pushes him away and runs off. But in that moment the two of them have entered each other?s hearts, for good or for ill, and the rest of the film follows the accommodations they must make to build a workable life around the central fact of this difficult but undeniable love.

Each takes lovers; Carrington goes so far as to marry Ralph Partridge (Steven Waddington), a stunningly handsome man she doesn?t much like, in part because Strachey enjoys having him around. Very gradually she comes to discover her own physicality ? although even in her mature lusts, notably with Beacus Penrose (Jeremy Northam), she seems emotionally disconnected, discomfited by the yearnings of the body she wears so awkwardly.

In the end, it seems, Carrington loves Strachey because, alone of her lovers, he accepts her as she is. ?If only I weren?t so plural,? she sighs. ?People want me so ? conclusively.? Strachey is the only person in her life who would not have her be more feminine, more sexual, more monogamous, more anything; he is the companion of her soul if not of her body.

History has proven both Strachey and Carrington to be relatively minor artists compared to several of their Bloomsbury Group compatriots ? it is significant that Carrington?s best-known painting is her famous portrait of Strachey (enacted by Price with startling fidelity, down to the long feminine fingers). Carrington painted for love, and painted on whatever surface she found available, covering the walls of hers and Strachey?s home with fanciful murals; in the end, her talent was fundamentally decorative rather than expressive. Strachey?s acid and iconoclastic [i]Eminent Victorians[/i] reflected the mood of his time and made him wealthy, but, as the film makes clear, he loathed writing and was happiest when traveling and spending time with his friends.

Perhaps this couple?s greatest work of art was their relationship itself, created willy-nilly out of the unlikeliest of materials. And in spite of the film?s flaws, the thrill and heartbreak of Carrington is seeing that work of art made immortal.
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