The Bostonians

Critics Consensus

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83%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 12

35%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,059

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Movie Info

Based on Henry James' novel, Merchant-Ivory's The Bostonians tells the story of Olive Chancellor, a 19th-century Boston woman dedicated to the suffrage movement who takes Verena Tarrant, a radical young woman, under her wing. But her cousin, is a male chauvinist who wants to marry and domesticate the young woman and a battle of wills ensues over her future.

Cast

Christopher Reeve
as Basil Ransome
Madeleine Potter
as Verena Tarrant
Vanessa Redgrave
as Olive Chancellor
Jessica Tandy
as Miss Birdseye
Nancy Marchand
as Mrs. Burrage
Wesley Addy
as Dr. Tarrant
Barbara Bryne
as Mrs. Tarrant
Linda Hunt
as Dr. Prance
Nancy New
as Adeline Luna
John Van Ness Philip
as Henry Burrage
Wallace Shawn
as Mr. Pardon
Maura Moynihan
as Henrietta Stackpole
Martha Farrar
as Mrs. Farrinder
Peter Bogyo
as Mr. Gracie
Barbara Byrne
as Mrs. Tarrant
Charles McCaughan
as Music-Hall Policeman
Lee Doyle
as Mr. Filer
Jon Van Ness
as Henry Burrage
Janet Cicchese
as Irish Washerwoman
Scott Kradolfer
as Tough Boy
June Mitchell
as Party Guest
View All

Critic Reviews for The Bostonians

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (2)

  • ''The Bostonians'' is, from its opening shot to last, a rare delight, a high comedy with tragic undertones, acted to passionate perfection by a cast of the best actors ever assembled by the Merchant-Ivory-Jhabvala team.

    December 6, 2018 | Full Review…
  • James' story is so fascinating and Redgrave so urgently fine that you can lose sight of these lapses and have an eminently satisfying time.

    December 6, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Like the Merchant-Ivory-Jhabvala team's 1979 The Europeans, this is a classy adaptation of a Henry James novel.

    July 6, 2010 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • [The Bostonians is] intelligent and subtle and open to the underlying tragedy of a woman who does not know what she wants, a man who does not care what he wants, and a girl who does not need what she wants.

    October 23, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • ''The Bostonians,'' which opens today at Cinema I, unfolds elegantly but not always smoothly... But the performances, especially that of the astonishing Miss Redgrave, generate an urgency and momentum to match Mr. James's own.

    May 20, 2003 | Full Review…
  • The women's movement as a whole is... presented in the film as the creature of a couple of reporters on the make and a handful of aristocratic Boston spinsters whose other pet causes include faith healing.

    August 21, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Bostonians

  • Apr 14, 2008
    Christopher Reeve is good if a bit stiff and Vanessa Redgrave is exquisite as always but the pace is slow and the central character and lead actress lack a radiance and fire that is essential for the story to engage.
    jay n Super Reviewer
  • Sep 22, 2007
    An early Merchant-Ivory offering. It frankly just isn't very good. Poor Christopher Reeve had real problems when he had to stretch himself.
    John B Super Reviewer

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