The Wings of the Dove


The Wings of the Dove (1997)


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Movie Info

British director Ian Softley's take on this lesser-known Henry James novel offers a tightly-woven, witty look at clashing social classes in turn-of-the-century Europe as it tells the tale of a strong-willed aristocratic girl who takes drastic measures to marry her lower-class lover.

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Linus Roache
as Merton Densher
Alison Elliott
as Millie Theale
Michael Gambon
as Kate's father
Alex Jennings
as Lord Mark
Ben Miles
as Journalist 1
Philip Wright
as Journalist 2
Shirley Chantrell
as Opium Den Lady
Diana Kent
as Merton's Party Companion
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News & Interviews for The Wings of the Dove

Critic Reviews for The Wings of the Dove

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (9)

Instead of piling on distracting historical details and background, Dove trusts the audience to notice behavioral clues and fill in the blanks.

Jan 9, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
USA Today
Top Critic

The Wings of the Dove flies high in a year when a whole lot of mega-buck movies barely got off the ground. It's exquisite -- and very adult -- entertainment.

Jan 5, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The problem is that once you posit an atmosphere of relative lubricity, most of the tension in the story disappears. Who in this movie would care if Kate carried on a torrid affair with Merton Densher?

Aug 17, 2018 | Full Review…

All of this intrigue is played out against the most romantic of backgrounds.

May 31, 2018 | Full Review…

The problem is this: We're given no reason to care about these two yearning hearts. Our only evidence of their love is a garish display of hormones.

Jan 15, 2005 | Rating: C- | Full Review…

Visually stunning? Absolutely! But I found the film's plodding pace relentlessly annoying.

May 31, 2003 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Wings of the Dove

Another very nice movie for romantic women of any age. Entertaining, and well put together, but sad. Helena Bonham is just lovely in this.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

This is another outstanding movie based on a novel written by Henry James. It takes place in the early 1900's and you have everything in this that?s found in a modern day soap opera. The main character is Kate (Helena Bonham Carter), a young woman who is dependant on the whims of a rich aunt for her survival. Kate is a person that plays with other peoples life?s and feelings, She makes friends with a American who is dying, and this American is very rich, so she ploys her boyfriend to fall in love with her for her Money. A great twist of story. It will be enjoy by most. 4 Stars.

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

I was intrigued by the dynamics between the three main characters. Carter and Roache as the passionate young lovers from different social classes, while they definitely have a messed-up relationship, are enthralling to watch. The acting, colors, cinematography and dialog do somehow seem more alive than other films set in this period by Merchant and Ivory.

Byron Brubaker
Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer

Love and money: No one twists and turns the two together any better than Henry James. He really is a kind of TV soap opera precursor. It must be, at least in part, due to his real fascination with and passion for opera.

I have to say that I was surprised to learn the costumes were nominated for an Academy Award. My initial gut reaction was that the clothes looked 1) too modern for the turn of the century, and 2) like a kind of mix-and-match hodgepodge of older and newer. But what do I know about clothes?

I think Charlotte Rampling's is the most memorable performance. But then I always like the darker characters : )

As an aside, from an old English major, James is a challenging read. If you are inspired to read Wings because of this movie -- which would be great : ) -- don't be discouraged if the reading is a tough go. Don't give up! To get used to his style, maybe you could check out his short stories, or if you know The Turn of the Screw, probably his most popular work, give that a shot.

Lanning : )
Lanning : )

Super Reviewer

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