The Bostonians - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Bostonians Reviews

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September 26, 2017
viewed on 5/9/05 (Sun)

I think there are few standard things you can look forward in the Merchant Ivory movies. Great cinematography. Great performances. Nice costumes. Nice music. But do please expect something on the boring side. With all respect, with a bow. I think I like THE REMAINS OF THE DAY most.

It is adapted from a novel by Henry James which is basically about one morbid old maid (as correctly described by a character) and a man figthing over a girl. Yup. Lesbianism, all in the name of feminism.

The ending is queer too. Pun not intended. So what's the message in that speech? In the movie? Ok, there is one pleasant surprise, 'Superman' Christopher Reeve is good with that Southern accent.

Rating: C
May 29, 2015
You know I'm kind of sick of it but also it hasn't happened in a while, James Ivory makes the same damn movie every time in his career from the 80's to 90's. Seriously if I stumbled on this on TV without a label, I could easily confuse it for Room with a View, Howard's End, or Remains of the Day. Some of the acting is fine it's just such a drag to get through. Of course in any James Ivory movie, the costumes, art direction, and production design are wonderful but story is just not a factor in this
September 3, 2012
viewed on 5/9/05 (Sun)

I think there are few standard things you can look forward in the Merchant Ivory movies. Great cinematography. Great performances. Nice costumes. Nice music. But do please expect something on the boring side. With all respect, with a bow. I think I like THE REMAINS OF THE DAY most.

It is adapted from a novel by Henry James which is basically about one morbid old maid (as correctly described by a character) and a man figthing over a girl. Yup. Lesbianism, all in the name of feminism.

The ending is queer too. Pun not intended. So what's the message in that speech? In the movie? Ok, there is one pleasant surprise, 'Superman' Christopher Reeve is good with that Southern accent.

Rating: C
½ March 7, 2012
Fair attempt at showing the roots of the US suffrage movement, although it's not the only theme as this is also an old-fashioned love story. The problem with it is that there is very little stimulus within the script.
½ December 19, 2011
Awful. A poor script by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, woefully miscast, and poorly directed. True, the basic story line from the Henry James novel is intriguing. Not good enough. And it's not even worth my explaining in detail the many deficiencies of this picture.
½ September 13, 2011
A bit Slow but interesting Film about a an unusual Love Triangle between two Suffragette's(Vanessa Redgrave & Madeleine Potter) & a Spoiled Upper Class Cousin(Christopher Reeve) of one of them, during the struggle for Women's Equality in the 19th Century Boston.This Lovely Actress/Speaker becomes caught in an Emotional Love "Taffy Pull" between two very controlling, Want To Be, Lovers, Olive(Redgrave) & Basil(Reeve), & her Loyalties are pulled & tugged at till it nearly breaks her.This Book must have been very controversial at the time as it hints at Lesbianism that is suppressed by the times.A Lovely & Historically Provocative film, albeit a bit slow.
September 8, 2011
good stuff another great period piece from merchant/ivory
½ March 24, 2011
Like many of the Merchant Ivory films, this one is dull. Not even Vanessa Redgrave could save the day.
February 5, 2010
Boringly slow movie about a radical womens group trying to get a voice and the vote in a man's world.
August 12, 2009
Except for Redgrave, who is great as always, this is a badly miscast but handsome adaptation of classic novel. The ending is a cop-out.
August 3, 2009
I would have liked to see more push and pull in this film. Verena is meant to be charming, but I gather that she is also supposed to be tormented by all the people who want to use her brilliance to power their own agenda. Basil's character comes over as a little creepy.
April 26, 2009
I was pleased enough with this film until the very end. While I did not find Potter to be the phenomenal orator that Verena was supposed to be, the film initially captured the essential elements of the book. While James made it clear that Verena was not to be happy in her final decision, the film makes no attempt to bring any sort of closure to her character, and instead ends with the focus on Olive. Redgrave's Olive was more...abnormal than any impression of the character I had had from the book, but her portrayal was well-done and consistent. It was just frustrating to have a film that stuck so closely to the original material, for once, only to have it seem to miss the entire point in the end.
February 12, 2009
Redgrave and Reeves (well more Redgrave than Reeves he is such a charming bastard) are wonderful as two figures at extreme opposites of the womens suffragist movement battling for the attentions and affections of a young political ingenue who struggles herself against the power spells of both her benefactress and her lover. The movie boldly addresses some controversial themes and definitions of feminism and the individual weaknesses that can erode the struggle of a movement.
jjnxn
Super Reviewer
½ February 9, 2009
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.
December 18, 2008
Pettymys tämäkin. Näyttelijät ei luontevia.
October 27, 2008
Vanessa Redgrave is good. Christopher Reeves is a bit awkward. Strangely lesbianic.
June 30, 2008
Vanessa Redgrave is excellent in parts, whereas Christopher Reeve is merely stiff as Basil Ransom, the Southern gentleman. But it is Madeleine Potter's Verena that is really the weak link in the film: she lacks presence and is hardly the powerful orator of the book. In fact, one wonders why two fairly intelligent people would be willing to go to such extraordinary lengths to win her affections. Also, in spite of its painstaking attention to period detail, I wish this film had a greater sense of historical context. After all, The Bostonians is not simply a love story in which Ransom gets away with the prize, but, as A.S. Byatt has pointed out, a novel that pits the reforming North (Olive is a Bostonian suffragate) against the reactionary South (Ransom is a chauvinist determined to get his woman). Ransom wins his girl but his "victory" is undercut by typical Jamesian irony at the end of the novel: Verena, though glad to have run off with Ransom, is nevertheless in tears and "it is to be feared that with the union, so far from brilliant, into which she was about to enter, these were not the last that she was destined to shed". James has been much criticised for his indifference to "political effort"(although Eliot spoke approvingly of "a mind so fine that no idea could violate it"), but surely the closing line introduces a note of ambivalence that makes us rethink the meaning of the book as a whole. Unfortunately, such subtlety of tone is largely absent from the film, or perhaps I'm being too demanding - I've always loved James!
June 28, 2008
I could barely stay awake during this one. As soon as I finished it, I took a long nap. Not particularly exciting and long and drawn out.
February 29, 2008
Boring and blandly shot. Good performance from Vanessa Redgrave and a good does of lesbianism.
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