The House of Mirth - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The House of Mirth Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ April 21, 2007
"I have tried. I have tried hard -- but life is difficult, and I am a very useless person."

Great line. A little close to the bone, but great.
Super Reviewer
April 11, 2007
Good and beautiful to look at but so depressing!
Super Reviewer
½ October 7, 2008
it's a bit stiff in the execution and the bulk of it's power derives from wharton's novel: a woman of independent ideas is crushed by the 19th century. gillian anderson well deserves all the praise; however eric stoltz and dan ackroyd just seem odd in this setting. i cried a lil bit. love costume drama. i'm such a girl :P
Super Reviewer
½ May 2, 2011
Gillian Anderson is a perfect Lily Bart, because we realize that though the narrative is ostensibly centered on her, her blandness really lets the supporting cast shine (particularly the Lovely Laura Linney!).
Super Reviewer
January 13, 2009
Starts off like a pretentious period piece but boy does it get meaty and substantial in a hurry. Turn of the century upper-crust, white society with a healthy measure of scandal and lavish restraint.

There are some terrific performances here by some well-known and some not-so-well-known actors, but I dare you to try and take your eyes off of Gillian Anderson. Awe-inspiring.
Super Reviewer
½ May 9, 2005
[font=Century Gothic][color=sienna]"The House of Mirth" is an adapation of the Edith Wharton novel about Lily Bart(Gillian Anderson) who is walking a tightrope between independence and insolvency in 1905 New York. This was at a time when the women's right movement was in its infancy. [/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=#a0522d][/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=#a0522d]"The House of Mirth" is that rare movie that is almost singly undone by its casting. Gillian Anderson is completely out of her league playing such a complex character as Lily Bart, who while not completely sympathetic, is much more interesting than anybody else in the movie. Dan Aykroyd and Eric Stoltz are much too lightweight to be in such a serious literary endeavor. Laura Linney steals the movie whenever she is on screen and would have made a fascinating Lily Bart. Otherwise, the movie is quite beautiful to look at and is better than "The Age of Innocence", the other Edith Wharton adaptation I have seen. [/color][/font]
Super Reviewer
January 26, 2010
Gillian Anderson's great effort to prove that she can play a significant role outside of Dana Scully...and she can. Who is really surprising here though is Dan Aykroyd. Dan Aykroyd in a period piece? Somehow it works.
Super Reviewer
September 16, 2007
Boring. I didn't really care what was going on. It was refreshing to hear this kind of movie without having to deal with British accents though, and Gillian Anderson was an interesting choice for the role.
Super Reviewer
November 15, 2014
I don't know what Lily ever saw in Seldon. She is a frustrating heroine because she can't make the brave choices, like marrying Rosedale, or just not paying back the debt to Trenor. I guess the point is there are bigger structural forces at play here than Lily's choices and probably no matter what she did, she'd still be doomed. Don't watch this if you are down on your luck and tend to fall in love with the wrong men.
Super Reviewer
½ April 12, 2008
I love period pieces but this one was a little blah and stuffy for me.
½ November 7, 2015
Terence Davies knows how to delve into the darkest recesses of the mind, namely those parts that house shame, something he knows well from his own experience with society's oppressive social mores in regards to his sexuality. That shame permeates even the most hopeful of his works; The House of Mirth chokes out the possibility of this hope mercilessly.

His stylistic tendencies are here (his roaming camera signaling major shifts through transitionary fade-ins that are absolutely gorgeous, his deliberate pace allowing for immense emotional investment, his eye for slightly-theatrical detail resulting in an impeccable production), as are the stellar performances he regularly draws out of his actors. Anderson's turn as Lily Bart is heartbreaking to the point that it almost certainly deserved an Oscar (but went unrecognized entirely) and the rest of the cast more than hold their own. But what's most important is its commitment to its central tragedy, never pulling punches, quietly posturing its elegant verbal sparring matches so as to seem minor when in actuality they hold grave consequences. This subtlety extends to its social commentary, which hints at the systematic oppression of women without saying anything outright, a strategy also implemented in regards to its powerful statement about society's tendency to reward selfishness and harshly punish righteous choices.

The House of Mirth is a very old-fashioned, very deliberate film practically designed to makes an audience quaintly clutch their pearls in unison, but this doesn't take away from its near-perfect construction, its powerful emotional impact, and its deeply cynical but entirely honest message about the cruelty of life. The clock ticks on for all of us, until it doesn't; in a genre that so often choses tidy endings involving weddings and funerals, this film stands out for its dedication to such an unsavory central sentiment.
November 13, 2014
***Due to the recent RT changes that have basically ruined my past reviews, I am mostly only giving a rating rather than a full review.***
½ February 27, 2008
Terence Davies's The House of Mirth is a rigorously elegant adaptation of the Edith Wharton novel, and unlike in some other Davies movies, the rigor here doesn't turn into rigor mortis.
May 1, 2014
It's not the movie's fault. I gave the book one star. At least the movie kept up the pace as the book couldn't. I just don't find Lily Bart in any way sympathetic. She strikes me as the original run away bride. Gillian did her best. Her delivery didn't do it for me. But, her last scene with Selden ALMOST moved me; she put everything into it. Lily is definitely tragic, just not a heroine. Poor motherless girl is all I could think. If Elizabeth Bennet's mother had been there...If Lily could tell her friends from her enemies....If Lily listened to Rosedale. The list goes on and on.
One star for the pacing. One star for the visuals. ALL those clothes on a yacht! Can you imagine? Why go sailing?? geez
July 28, 2012
A relatively unheralded masterpiece. It is difficult to give Gillian Anderson's performance its due without veering into hyperbole.
October 8, 2010
Prententious and in-your-face in order to show those who are pretentious and in-your-face how sad and ridiculous they are. This is masterful filmmaking on a micro-budget with a wonderful cast of actors making up the list of characters. It can leave you breathless if you are really following along and it will also leave you saddened and heartbroken for Miss Lily Bart (the excellent Gillian Anderson -- of TV's The X-Files). Convention once ruled everything and a few brave souls tried to dare it. I think it is just as relevant a story today as it would have been over a hundred years ago with its origin.
½ February 24, 2010
Another superb adaptation of an Edith Wharton classic, this one boasting Gillian Anderson at her beguiling, brilliant best.
½ August 4, 2009
An interesting cast gives the costume drama genre a nice shot in the arm. Gillian Anderson gives an unexpected bravo performance and the dialogue is snappy. Worth a look even for those that might expect to be bored stiff.
April 24, 2008
Gillian Anderson is perfect in this sad haunting tale of social classes in early America. You want to search this one out and see it.
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