The Governess (1998) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Governess (1998)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Governess Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

London TV commercials director Sandra Goldbacher made her feature directorial debut with this early Victorian England drama filmed on the Isle of Arran. In London, Rosina Da Silva (Minnie Driver) is shaken by the murder of her father, a wealthy Jewish merchant. To deal with family debts, Rosina places a classified ad in a local newspaper and gets a job as a nanny with a gentile family in Scotland. Adopting the name Mary Blackchurch and posing as a gentile, she joins the dysfunctional Cavendish family, caring for young Clementina (Florence Hoath) and fending off the advances of teen Henry (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Head of the household is philologist and inventor Charles Cavendish (Tom Wilkinson), and when she gives Charles an assist on his photographic experiments, an affair develops. The music score features Eastern percussion backing singer Ofra Haza. Shown at the 1998 Seattle Film Festival.more
Rating: R (adult situations)
Genre: Drama, Romance, Art House & International
Directed By:
Written By: Sandra Goldbacher
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 16, 1999
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


Minnie Driver
as Rosina da Silva
Tom Wilkinson
as Mr. Charles Cavendis...
Harriet Walter
as Mrs. Cavendish
Florence Hoath
as Clementina Cavendish
Bruce Myers
as Rosina's Father
Emma Bird
as Becca
Arlene Cockburn
as Lily Milk
Adam Levy
as Benjamin
Diana Brooks
as Rosina's Mother
Jonathan Rhys Meyers
as Henry Cavendish
as Leonora
Kendal Cramer
as Young Rosina
Ralph Riach
as Mr. Hewlett
Joe Bromley
as Prostitute
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Governess

Critic Reviews for The Governess

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (12)

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | April 25, 2003
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Detroit News
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

If Jane Austen or a Brontė sister were inclined to revolve their tale of forbidden love and parlor room intrigue around a Jewish heroine, The Governess would undoubtedly resemble the result.

Full Review… | July 15, 2009

A beautifully crafted drama set in England during the 1840s about feminine intuition, creativity, and passion.

Full Review… | March 3, 2002
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for The Governess


A London bred jewess takes the job of governess for a gentile scientist's family on the Isle of Skye. Can Victorian scandal be far behind? Interesting tale with excellent performances, particularly by Driver and Wilkinson.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

There you go Minnie Driver. There is life after Matt Damon after all! Too bad we hardly see you anymore. The Governess was a good platform for you. Where did you jump?

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


The Governess (1998) -- [7.0] -- Minnie Driver plays a destitute Jewish woman who poses as a gentile to gain employment as nanny for a rich family in Scotland. While there she falls in love with the children's father and becomes the object of the older boy's affection. The cast is top-notch, including Tom Wilkinson as the father and Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the son. Gorgeous cinematography, sets, and wardrobe. I also liked how Driver and Wilkinson's characters bond over scientific research - they're trying to discover a 'fixing agent' for photographic prints. Of course, with so many forbidden affairs going on, the whole thing is bound to end in anguish. But it's exquisite anguish.

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