House of Mirth (2000) Reviewed by Anita *****

Directed by Terence Davies this is a beautiful film.  Visually stunning, dialog is perfect, superb acting and a very dramatic story.  Shot against some of the best scenery in Europe.  This film hits all the senses, including that of the heart.

Staring Gillian Anderson as Lily, a stunning socialite.  She  learns a hard lesson when she attracts the attention of Dan Aykroyd’s character Augustus Trenor.  Lily’s beauty catches the wrong men making her a victim of unwelcome attention and jealousy.

The story is set in 1901, centering on the social expectations of an aging socialite in Lily.  Lily is husband hunting as her station and training dictate, sadly she misses a real chance at real love with the handsome Lawrence Selden (Eric Stoltz).  Missing that one real relationship she bounces around from party to luncheon in hopes of catching the eye of an eligible suitor.  This is all cut short when she is falsely accused of having an affair with a married man.  Now Lily finds herself a social outcast, rejected even by the society of her family.  Lily spirals down from a party charmer to becoming a survivor in a cold world of Victorian rules and mislaid principles.  Her very upbringing has only equipped her with the skills of hunting out matrimony, so having to find work and live is almost impossible for our heroine. And to make matters worse the small inheritance she was to receive she owes outright to the very nasty man who put her in the streets with his lies.  All in all she hits 100% rock bottom.

In the classic fashion of Juliette from Shakespeare’s epic love story, our Lily follows the path of desperation.  I recommend this film for multiple reasons.  I have yet to grow tired of it.  It is great for a rainy day, a good cry, a wonderful tour of Victorian Europe, a tour of the growing America,  and a peek into how backwards men treated woman of that day and age.  I love period films and this one is on my top 5.  Take an afternoon this fall and watch House of Mirth. 

 

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