Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. United Kingdom/Germany, 2002. Martin Pope Productions, Arch Enterprises Limited, British Broadcasting Corporation, Isle of Man Film Commission, Isle of Man Film, Pandora Filmproduktion, Take 3 Partnership. Screenplay by Lucinda Coxon, based on the novel The Echoing Grove by Rosamond Lehmann. Cinematography by Gyula Pados. Produced by Martin Pope. Music by Nicholas Hooper. Production Design by Michael Carlin. Costume Design by Sheena Napier. Film Editing by Alex Mackie. Toronto International Film Festival 2002.
Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Williams play two sisters in 1930s London who suffer the tragedy of both being in love with the same man. While Rickie (Paul Bettany) is married to classy society dame Madeleine (Williams), he is passionately attracted to the zestier, more modern-minded Dinah (Carter). Visually sumptuous and classically depressing, this melodrama gets high points for its performances: director Thaddeus O’Sullivan does a superb job of getting desperately deep work from his three leads. No matter how hot their blood boils, though, the film itself never manages to be more than prim and stodgy, an emotionally repressed love story. Eleanor Bron is brilliant in a supporting role as the girls’ concerned mother.