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 Nayeem Hafizka, Richard Hawley. Music by Richard Robbins. Production Design by Alison Riva. Costume Design by Sheena Napier. Film Editing by John David Allen.
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 (Madhur Jaffrey) who befriends a British patient (Greta Scacchi) 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.