Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
United Kingdom/USA/The Netherlands, 1997. First Look International, Bayly/Paré Productions, Bergen Film & TV, Newmarket Capital Group, BBC Films, European Co-production Fund, Nederlandse Programma Stichting, Dutch Co-Production Fund, Nederlands Fonds voor de Film. Screenplay by Eileen Atkins, based on the novel by Virginia Woolf. Cinematography by Sue Gibson. Produced by Stephen Bayly. Music by Ilona Sekacz. Production Design by David Richens. Costume Design by Judy Pepperdine. Film Editing by Michiel Reichwein. Toronto International Film Festival 1997.
There’s probably nothing more challenging for a screenwriter than to bring to life a novel that thrives on interior monologue. Eileen Atkins (an actress as well as writer) rises to the challenge and does a first-class job of adapting Virginia Woolf’s groundbreaking novel to the screen, creating one of the most beautiful portraits of aging and remembrance ever put on screen. Taking place entirely on one day, it depicts Clarissa Dalloway (Vanessa Redgrave, another conquering performance) as she prepares to throw one of her famous parties, and is thrown into a fury of memories when she runs into an old flame (Michael Kitchen). She contemplates everything that went on between her and her old lover, examining her choices in life and trying to decide if she’s proud of where they have brought her. The result is for you to see, and the party scene that closes the film is just brilliant. Natascha McElhone matches Redgrave’s strength as the younger Clarissa.