Flick Buddies: Downton Abbazia, more commonly known as A Room With A View (1986)

When A Room With A View premiered in 1986 the first digit of my age had just turned to a “2” and there was absolutely zero chance that I would have gone to see it in a theater.  Zero. Zip. Nada. I can guarantee you that I would have just gone to see Aliens again instead.

This was the one film in August’s list (other than the just-released Savages) that I had no previous experience with either as the novel or film. I had a vague expectation that it took place in Italy… and that there was a room… and that it likely had a view… and that it was probably some sort of love story… and… that’s it. I had no idea who was in it or what time period it took place in. I’d gotten to having a “4” as the first digit in my age without ever coming across it.

A Room With a View (Sands & Bonham Carter)

So as it began, I was surprised to see Marla Helena Bonham Carter looking not like a freak (as I’ve come to expect) but as a cream-complected English rose. And there was Maggie Smith doing a great job as always. And Denholm Elliot. And Judi Dench. And Julian Sands. And Rupert Graves. It was like the greatest BBC/Masterpiece Theater cast – ever.

I liked this film well enough – I suppose it’s quite the benchmark as period dramas go. The filming is beautiful and there is the necessary star-crossed loverness, and the retrospective Edwardian “women can think thoughts, too!” vibe, but no real worries that our protagonists wouldn’t be together by the end.

Lucy and Cecil

I have to say that I thought that Daniel Day-Lewis really stole the show (which is nearly impossible in a cast like that, which was hitting on all cylinders) as the uptight (and gay, he’s supposed to be secretly-but-not-secretly gay, right?) Cecil Vyse. He was absolutely pitch perfect.

Definitely an enjoyable, gorgeous film that I know I wouldn’t have appreciated in my 20s. Here’s to aging gracefully. Grade: B+


13 thoughts on “Flick Buddies: Downton Abbazia, more commonly known as A Room With A View (1986)

  1. Oh, Cecil, Cecil, Cecil!!! I am so glad I didn’t have to choose between Aliens, which I loved, and Room With A View, which I also loved. And Cecil. The scene of him swatting his hat around at the bees is only bested by the one of him trying in vain to shoo the women away before they accidentally see the fellers skinny-dipping. The movie is a visual delight to me, and I loved every single person in it. But especially Daniel Day-Lewis. I had the HARDEST time convincing my daughter that THAT was, indeed, Hawkeye from Last of the Mohicans! Hahaha. He has always a been chameleon, and a brilliant actor. As for Cecil, well, thank goodness Fate intervenes and saves our heroine from what was sure to be a doomed and miserable match, eh?

    Thanks for this post. I hadn’t thought about this film in a long time. It was lovely. (And I always, secretly wanted to become Maggie Smith as I aged. It didn’t happen, sadly, but how marvelous is she?)

  2. I love this movie. I was 14 the first time I saw it, and couldn’t really appreciate it, but subsequent viewings made me see it’s true beauty and subtlety. It is fun to see these actors so young.

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