Cotton Mary (1999)

ISMAIL MERCHANT, MADHUR JAFFREY

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5

France/United Kingdom/USA, 1999.  Merchant Ivory Productions.  Screenplay by Alexandra Viets.  Cinematography by Pierre Lhomme.  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Wonderful period piece from the team of Merchant Ivory. Directed by Ismail Merchant, the fascinating story tells of an Anglo-Indian nurse named Cotton Mary () who befriends a British patient () after she gives birth to a sickly child. Seeing this woman as an opportunity to abandon her low Indian roots and aspire to British high society, Mary ingratiates herself into the woman’s family and proceeds to take over the household. Time passes, however, and soon it becomes apparent that Mary will have her shame of her own culture thrown back at her. Beautiful photography and excellent production detail highlight a fascinating drama, chock full of great acting (particularly an indomitable Jaffrey) and sturdy direction.

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