The Invisible Man
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Only a Writer the calibre of Edith Wharton (The Old Maid) who also lived through the era could so magnificently bring to life such a challenging story. Wharton, being the first woman to be awarded the converted Pulitzer prize is not to be taken lightly when being considered for adaption to the screen, Director Terence Davies adapts her novel with much respect, and while it can be at times difficult to navigate the original's ebb and flow – with its many complex relationships, it always remains compelling. Those conversant with the novel will have the advantage of being familiar with characters names and relationships.
This is a time when a woman living within upper society circles was tasked with the prime challenge of finding a rich man to marry. Our lead character, Lily Bart lives with her wealthy Aunt – this places her in the enviable position of meeting such men through numerous sumptuous dinner functions. Unfortunately Lily is a little spoiled for choice and not very bright when it comes to carefully assess both the money and men markets. We follow her as she navigates the fine line between knowing her heart and following her (perceived) financial requirements – both decisions needing astute wisdom but, does she have this ability?
Many misunderstandings, and ‘friends' betrayals, lead her on a tenuous, interwoven path, intended to secure her essential but ever-elusive personal happiness. Director of Photography Remi Adefarasin (Amazing Grace ‘05) creates truly lush images, capturing the gorgeous settings, costumes and women, with dazzling style (perhaps too much?). He deservedly went on to become the first English born black person to be nominated for an Academy Award. British director Davies and his cameraman bring a BBC look and feel to this international production but it retains the novelist's perfect Americana to embed it in its true N.Y. homeland. A tragic journey, with a well-balanced sense of the sexuality of the day – never ending up in the sensationalised land of some other American films set within this timeframe - especially some TV varieties. Performances are first class with Gillian Armstrong absolutely superb!
Classic quality, shot in UK, set in USA, and well worth a second look for discerning viewers.
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.
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.
***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.***
A truly haunting, elegant, tragic, modern and perfectly directed adaptation of the Edith Wharton classic. The fact that Gillian Anderson didn't win (or was even nominated for) an Oscar for this performance is an embarrassment. She's just PERFECT in this difficult and challenging role. I highly recommend it.
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
Que bien ejecutada, que bien interpretada, que historia mas interesante y a la vez sutil, donde cada personaje en un mundo lleno de intereses e intenciones, vacuo de sentiminetos... que bien logrado! Me ha atrapado desde los primeros minutos, hipnotizando mi atencion por su cadencia monocorde en los dialogos, secuencias, ritmo, incluso con un intermedio que hace pensar en una composicion musical u obra de teatro. A la par que una direccion artistica bien lograda, justa; pelicula de epoca elegante, bella en imagenes, sugerentes, pero sin regodearse en la superficie, sino para contrastar que tras esa belleza se esconden almas duras, huecas, frias como el hielo, donde el sentimineto humano se encorseta, aflorando la mas absurda pose alimentada de prejucios y de establishment a toda costa. Tiene mucho y me encantaria volver a verla.
Gillian Anderson's performance (from TV's The X-files) is a tour de force in this beautifully lensed and well-acted Edith Wharton's adaptation about a gold-digging woman's struggle to stay afloat in a treacherous society where money talks and love is a cheap commodity.
the adaptation of edith wharton's novel was really good. the screenplay was nice, it was well-casted and gillian anderson was really great in this film. cinematography was good too, same with the production design, editing and scoring of this film. its kinda tragic but it's really worth watching.
The House of Mirth offers no hope at the end of a miserable tunnel...
While were accustomed to happy endings, your best suited with a disney movie instead. The best selling novel by Edith Wharton depictes high society during the turn of the century, and its woes of courtship mishabs. Gillian Anderson Sparkles and shines with her memoriable role as Lily.