Maurice

BBB

(out of 5)


Far from exemplary but solid adaptation of E.M. Forster’s posthumously published novel, about the titular young man () who awakens to his homosexuality while studying at Cambridge. His realization comes to him through the affections of fellow classmate Clive Durham (a debuting ), who later finds himself unable to go through with his relationship to Maurice; deciding that the ‘normal’ life is the proper way to go, Clive chooses a woman and marries her. Maurice, on the other hand, decides that all of the social fears, prejudices and, not the least imposing, police-enforced laws, are no match for his fearlessness to love as strongly as he pleases. Where James Ivory and his Merchant Ivory team falter the most is in not adapting Forster’s humour and wit from the novel, making this film a heavy-handed and (sometimes) ponderous approach to a very enjoyable piece of literature. Plot-wise, the only notable change is Ivory’s invention of a sequence involving Durham’s classmate () having a run-in with the law that clarifies legal context for modern day viewers (and also contributes to the overall feeling of dread).  High points are excellent (as usual) art direction and costume design, a heavenly score by Richard Robbins and superior acting. Featuring a cameo from Merchant Ivory mainstay  as a cricket match onlooker, this is the second of three Forster adaptations the team produced, after A Room With A View and before the best of the three, Howards End.


Merchant Ivory Productions, Cinecom Pictures, Film Four International

United Kingdom, 1987

Directed by

Screenplay by , James Ivory, based on the novel by

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by ,

Film Editing by

Academy Awards 1987

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