Monday, March 21, 2011

Movie Monday: Maurice

This week's Movie Monday is a Merchant Ivory film from 1987, called Maurice. It features a young Hugh Grant and James Wilby, and several other faces you may recognize.

Two male English school chums find themselves falling in love at Cambridge. To regain his place in society, Clive gives up his forbidden love, Maurice and marries. Written from personal pain, it's E.M. Forster's story of coming to terms with sexuality in the Edwardian age.

I've never read the novel, but broke my rule to watch the movie a couple of months ago. Once it began and I realized it was a Merchant Ivory film, I knew to expect beautiful detail in the lush settings and surroundings.

The story itself is a bit of a roller coaster. The two young men pursue their relationship throughout school and into the early part of their careers. Their mothers become friends as do their sisters. Clive has political aspirations, though, and decides he needs to grow up and act as a man "should", according to Edwardian morals. The end of the relationship is abrupt and violent; as Maurice sobs, "What an ending!" As time goes by and he learns to be around Clive and his new wife, he meets Alec, an enigmatic young man who works as groundskeeper at Clive's family home. Alec is obviously smitten with Maurice. The question comes down to whether Maurice can allow himself to overcome his disdain for someone who is not of his own social class.

The movie was quite good. The pacing was typical of a Merchant Ivory film, that is to say, I found it a bit lagging in places, but it was well-written and well acted. I loved Rupert Graves as Alec (and totally didn't recognize him, he was practically a baby!). Watching it made me realize I should perhaps look into reading some E.M. Forster. Overall, I recommend seeing it. I give it 7.5/10.

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