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Wings Of The Dove

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Wings Of The Dove

Starring: Helena Bonham Carter, Linus Roache
Director: Iain Softley
Rated: R
RunTime: 101 Minutes
Release Date: November 1997
Genres: Drama, Romance

*Also starring: Alison Elliott, Charlotte Rampling, Elizabeth McGovern, Michael Gambon, Alex Jennings

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Walter Frith review follows movie reviewmovie review
2.  Harvey Karten read the review ---
3.  Steve Rhodes read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review

Review by Walter Frith
2 stars out of 4

A number of people who read my reviews have recently contacted me and asked why I changed my rating system in my recent reviews of 'Firestorm' and 'The Boxer' from five stars to four. They mentioned to me that they preferred the five star system and suggested that I return to it. I guess if something isn't broken, it shouldn't be fixed, as the old saying goes, so, I will return to the five star rating system I am humbly known for. An now, on with the review.....

A division of society's classes has always offered the opportunity for great film making.

'The Wings of the Dove' is based on the novel by Henry James and is adapted for the screen by Hossein Amini and is set in the Victorian era, 1910 to be exact, and tells a very subtle story of poverty's desperation striving for notoriety and a better way of living. The book is actually set closer to the turn of the century but is moved forward a few years to 1910, perhaps as an attempt to show the more slowly eroding traditions of the 19th century in terms of honour and tradition to the very different social trends the 20th century would bring.

Two British lovers, Kate and Merton (Helena Bonham Carter and Linus Roache) star in this rather cold yet meaningful study of morality and conscience. Kate's mother is deceased and her father is a hopeless alcoholic living in the excesses of poverty. Through the course of their relationship in the film, they meet a young American girl named Millie (Alison Elliott) whom they discover is dying from a disease that is undisclosed to the audience. They find that she is quite wealthy. She meets Merton and later asks Kate what kind of man he is since she is aware they know each other but never counting on the plot that is devised against her by the two of them. Kate and Merton plot for him to marry Millie, suspecting and almost certainly counting on the fact that she will leave her money to him upon her death and Kate and Merton can finally be together enjoying a better way of life. As the film moves on, all the characters eventually know more or less what is happening.

The picture is nurtured and given a very gentle tone courtesy of director Iain Softley who allocates a great amount of detail to the overall quality and outcome of the film. Helena Bonham Carter has won virtually every major critic's award for this film and she has a good shot at the Academy Award.

The Victorian era is paid tribute to in a very flattering manner as everything from the costumes to the set design and the moody photography is given great attention.

'The Wings of the Dove' runs a surprisingly short 108 minutes but because it is such a laid back film with ongoing dialogue that is never boring and is the type of story that is always interesting to watch, it may have done its service as a short but satisfying offering to the medium of film..

Copyright 1997 Walter Frith

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