The House of Mirth

Critics Consensus

Despite being a period piece, The House of Mirth's depiction of social cruelty still feels chilling and relevant for today.



Total Count: 97


Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,056
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Movie Info

Adapted from the Edith Wharton novel, the story is a sustained snarl of rage at a world where women are overwhelmingly dependent on men for their livelihoods and in which one malicious whisper can destroy a life. Lily Bart is a ravishing socialite at the height of her success who quickly discovers the precariousness of her position when her beauty and charm start attracting unwelcome interest and jealousy. Torn between her heart and her head, Lily always seems to do the right thing at the wrong time. She seeks a wealthy husband and in trying to conform to social expectations, she misses her chance for real love with Lawrence Selden. Her quest for a husband comes to a scandalous end when she is falsely accused of having an affair with a married man and is rejected by society and her friends.


Eric Stoltz
as Lawrence Selden
Dan Aykroyd
as Gus Trenor
Anthony LaPaglia
as Sim Rosedale
Laura Linney
as Bertha Dorset
Terry Kinney
as George Dorset
Elizabeth McGovern
as Carry Fisher
Eleanor Bron
as Mrs. Peniston
Pearce Quigley
as Percy Gryce
Jodhi May
as Grace Stepney
Penny Downie
as Judy Trenor
Helen Coker
as Evie Van Osburgh
Mary MacLeod
as Mrs. Haffen
Paul Venables
as Jack Stepney
Serena Gordon
as Gwen Stepney
Lorelei King
as Mrs. Hatch
Linda Marlowe
as Madame Regina
Anne Marie Timoney
as Miss Haines
Ralph Riach
as Lord Hubert Dacy
Trevor Martin
as Jennings the Butler
Lesley Harcourt
as Mattie Gormer
Mark Dymond
as Paul Morpeth
Pamela Dwyer
as Edith Fisher
Kate Wooldridge
as Parlour Maid
Roy Sampson
as Dorset Butler
Alyxis Daly
as Landlady
Joanne Bett
as Millinery Girl
Mary Goonan
as Millinery Girl
Gowan Calder
as Millinery Girl
Morag Siller
as Millinery Girl
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News & Interviews for The House of Mirth

Critic Reviews for The House of Mirth

All Critics (97) | Top Critics (33)

Audience Reviews for The House of Mirth

  • Nov 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.
    Juli R Super Reviewer
  • May 02, 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!).
    Jennifer X Super Reviewer
  • Jan 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.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 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.
    Randy T Super Reviewer

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