The Romantic Englishwoman,(Une anglaise romantique) Reviews
"The Romantic Englishwoman" is a prime example of when very dull things happen to great actors. So much so, that they can do little with the material at hand. Admittedly, telling Thomas' story with as little as dialogue as possible is a neat touch.(And you have to admit it. Thomas does have style.) But even with such potential, the movie, not able to decide between romance, comedy, psychological drama, meta weirdness or thriller, just decides to sit there for long stretches. Maybe it would have helped if the story had started off with Lewis' first conversation with Herman(Rene Kolldehoff) as a way of introducing everybody. Maybe not.
Speaking of the cast, Glenda Jackson has her charismatic dignity in almost every scene although regularly shoehorned between Berger‚(TM)s perpetual snug grin and Caine‚(TM)s perpetual sullen stare, and eventually cannot save the film from the mire of a psychological drama swamped with behavioural absurdities and non-consistent narrative. The fierce-looking wife with a bob cut and perfectly trimmed fringes, who is discontent with her middle-class lifestyle (her writer husband has immersed into the writer‚(TM)s block when writing a film script and becomes paranoid about her adultery in her solo trip to Baden-Baden), tries her luck to elope with a self-claimed German poet (whose real identity is only hinted by smuggling small-time drugs and cruising of elderly lonely-hearts), whom she has met before in Baden-Baden, but is there a fling between them in their previous encounter? The film never answer the question, a corny exploit being overused here.
Richard Harley‚(TM)s lyrical string score has stolen the thunder since more often than not, I am very much a visual observer than a sonic perfectionist. Also I quite prefer the slowly panning camera in carefully constructing a hunter and prey game in the beginning part in Baden-Baden to the dreadful and ostentatious meandering in the labyrinth of feigned sentimentality, claiming inane quips like ‚Englishwoman is the most romantic‚? (Berger‚(TM)s German accent is a major buzz-killer), I hope someone else could be fortunate enough to fully digest all the hocus-pocus and be grateful towards this ill-fated film adaption.
The movie starts off slow but once the three characters are brought together, it becomes intriguing. Superb performances by Jackson, Caine and Kate Nelligan as a family friend. However, the final 1/2 hours gets too melodramatic and makes "The Romantic Englishwoman" foolish. It ends unconvincingly.