Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Wings of the Dove

Ian Softley, 1997 (8.6*)
Helena Bonham Carter
's most riveting and intense performance, an Oscar®-nominated one for best actress, highlights this Victorian tale, from the novel by Henry James, of two poor British lovers and how they attach themselves as best friends to a dying heiress in a scheme to perhaps inherit some money.

Carter plays a conniving woman, Kate Croy, who is being asked to give up her muck-raking journalist fiance (Linus Roache) in order to maintain her lifestyle. She befriends a traveling heiress, played by Alison Elliott, who turns out to be dying. The heiress shows some interest in Kate's fiance, so Kate hatches a scheme to have him court the dying woman with the hopes of gaining financially.

Emotions, however, are not easy to plan or control, and not all goes according to plan. Carter becomes one of the screen's more lovable villainesses, nearly up there with Glen Close in Dangerious Liaisons. Even though this is not a very pleasant romance, it's an incisive and intense one. Helena Bonham Carter turned in her best performance here, and in an interview before the Oscars said "it was my first nude bonk scene - can I say bonk on tv?"

Winner of 16 awards out of 37 nominations. Carter won 13 for her performance, while Alison Elliott won 2 for supporting actress.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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