(out of 5)

Christopher Hampton writes and directs this examination of the lifelong friendship between painter Dora Carrington () and writer Lytton Strachey (), the only man she ever truly loved. The two leads are stupendous in their performances, both of them completely breaking free of their accustomed film images and presenting fresh, lively versions of themselves.  Thompson tears down the prim image of period sophistication that she is known for and plays a hotblooded, passionate painter who feels everything around her strongly. Pryce goes from his usual duties of playing hard-edged suits to being a markedly flamboyant and effortlessly witty gay poet and philosopher. Where the film falters is in Hampton’s lack of narrative drive or affection: these two are such great artists, and yet the glimpses into their work or inspiration are far too few to be satisfying. By the time you reach the film’s end, you might have exhausted your patience completely; on the other hand, your heart will be completely broken by it. Michael Nyman’s beautiful score is a plus.

Polygram Filmed Entertainment, Freeway Films, Cinéa, Orsans Productions, StudioCanal, Euston Films, European Co-production Fund

United Kingdom/France1995

Directed by

Screenplay by Christopher Hampton, based on the book by

Cinematography by

Produced by ,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Cannes Film Festival 1995

Toronto International Film Festival 1995


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