A Room with a View (1985)

room with a view poster 1985 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Clever take on a period piece, good cast

Still has period piece feel

Movie Info

Movie Name:  A Room with a View

Studio:  Goldcrest Films International/National Film Finance Corporation (NFFC)/Curzon Film Distributors

Genre(s):  Drama/Romance

Release Date(s):  December 13, 1985 (Premiere)/April 11, 1986 (UK)/May 23, 1986 (US)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

room with a view lucy george cecil daniel day lewis helena bonham carter julian sands


Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) and her cousin Charlotte Bartlett (Maggie Smith) are travelling in Florence for the first time…and the first time in Florence, everyone wants a room with a view.  Lucy and Charlotte trade their room with Mr. Emerson (Denholm Elliott) and his son George (Julian Sands)…and Lucy finds George is interested in her.  Lucy is a woman with a proper background, and George just doesn’t have the status.  When Lucy returns home, she finds herself engaged to Cecil Vyse (Daniel Day-Lewis)…but her feelings for George still linger.

Directed by James Ivory, A Room with a View is a period piece romantic drama.  The film is an adaptation of E. M. Forster’s 1908 novel and won Academy Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, and Best Costume Design with nominations for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Elliott), Best Supporting Actress (Smith), Best Cinematography and Best Director.  The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #775).

room with a view maggie smith judi dench

Just a couple Dames in a field eating

I’m not the biggest period piece person.  I remember A Room with a View coming out and being almost the ultimate entry in the style of film.  Watching A Room with a View, I do think that A Room with a View has a bit of a stylistic difference than other similar movies.

The story falls into the whole “what is proper for a lady” and class differences.  The film has Lucy really making the choices in the situation…this feels a bit different than most movies where the woman doesn’t have much of a voice.  Lucy does get to choose, and she isn’t really judged.  Her choice is the safer choice of the upper-class Cecil or the riskier choice of George.  It is obvious that Cecil has no chance (like a normal film), but the path to the romance is different than expected.

Helena Bonham Carter is very young in the movie but she has a maturity that is greater than her age.  Julian Sands is kind of bland, and Daniel Day-Lewis underperforms as the snooty Cecil.  Maggie Smith is fun as the unwed older cousin who is a warning of what Lucy could become, but Denholm Elliott also is a scene stealer as George’s father.  The movie has Simon Callow and Judi Dench in small roles.

room with a view ending lucy george helena bonham carter julian sands

We have our view

The film is a good looking and is a solid period piece.  The movie has a classic music score and makes interesting use of title cards to help tell the story and the actions of the characters.  With good cinematography, the film helps emphasize the relationships and plots.

A Room with a View is a better romantic drama than many of its contemporaries.  It has a bit more humor than movies like it and it has a similar wry view of the situation mixed in with the typical mopey, lounging aristocratic lifestyle where appearances and attitudes can make or break you.  While it is conventional in that Lucy falls in love with the man she doesn’t expect to, it feels unconventional in how it goes about the path…everyone deserves a room with a view.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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