The first film directed by playwright Christopher Hampton, who’s working from his own scriptan adaptation of Michael Holroyd’s book Lytton Strachey. This is an engaging and absorbing look at experimental bohemian lifestyles, specifically those of gay English writer Strachey (Jonathan Pryce) and straight English painter Dora Carrington (Emma Thompson), who lived together between World War I and the early 30s. Obviously influenced (albeit in a subdued English way) by Jules and Jim, this has been criticized for its historical inaccuracies, and one should certainly object to the deletion by the American distributor, Gramercy Pictures, of six minutes of the original film (apparently much of it gay sex) on the safe assumption that most Americans, including most critics, won’t care enough to object. But if you aren’t expecting a masterpiece or a piece of precise historiography, you probably will be held by the story, as well as by Pryce’s performance. With Steven Waddington, Rufus Sewall, Samuel West, and Penelope Wilton. (JR)

This entry was posted in Featured Texts. Bookmark the permalink.