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A Room with a View:

A captivating romance film

Directed by James Ivory A Room with a View is a British romance film adapted to the screen based on E. M. Forster’s novel of the same title.

The story begins with Miss Lucy Honeychurch an English woman from a village in Surrey who goes on holiday in Italy with her much older cousin and chaperone, Charlotte Bartlett. Charlotte is very stringently English in her outlooks and traditionalism.

She is extremely restrictive and tends to get her way by expressing her emotions to the effect of manipulating others. Lucy comes from an upper class but loving and easygoing household, and had fewer inhibitions, which creates a strong tension between herself and Charlotte.

The cultural landscape these two women find themselves in is the more free-thinking and free-spirited backdrop of Italy. In the guesthouse they stay at Lucy meets such people as Reverend Beebe, the two Miss Alans, and the author Miss Eleanor Lavish, but most importantly, the free thinking Emerson and his handsome, philosophical son, George, who becomes friends with Charlotte.

These men, although also English, represent the forward-thinking, progressive ideals of the turn-of-the-century, seeking to leave behind the repression and caution that was the norm in Victorian times.

Strange

Initially, the Emersons seem strange and unfamiliar to Lucy and Charlotte. They seem sincere but unaware of finer upper class Victorian manners. Emerson offers to switch rooms with the women, who desire a room with a view.

Charlotte is offended, believing him to be rude and tactless for what she perceives to be indebting them with his offer.

As Lucy begins her journey to maturity, she finds herself drawn to George due to his mysterious thinking and freely expressed emotions.

Several people staying at the guesthouse take a carriage ride in the country, this event proves to be quite crucial to the young Lucy.


Scenes from the film

A mischievous Italian driver gets back at Charlotte by misdirecting an unsupervised Lucy to George in a barley field as he admires the view. George suddenly embraces and passionately kisses Lucy as she approaches him.

Charlotte has followed Lucy, witnesses the act, and quickly stops the intimacy. George’s unreserved passion shocks Lucy, but also lights a secret desire and romance in her heart.

Charlotte suggests George kissing her was the act of a rake.

Charlotte makes reference to a heartbreak from her youth that occurred the same way and has behaved accordingly with disgust and anger toward George.

Charlotte uses guilt to persuade Lucy to secrecy to save both their reputations as a young lady and a chaperone, but it is mostly for her own benefit.

Engagement

It is then expressed that normally, if a young man kissed a young lady, an engagement should be announced to preserve her reputation, but Charlotte considers George to be an undesirable influence.

Upon returning to England, Lucy tells her mother nothing and pretends to forget the incident.

She accepts a marriage proposal from a wealthy and respectable but snobbish man named Cecil Vyse.

However, she soon learns that both George and his father have moved to her small village and will be her neighbours due to a letter from Cecil Vyse inviting them to reside in an empty cottage.

The sudden appearance of George soon disrupts Lucy’s plans and causes her suppressed feelings to resurface. Lucy consistently refuses George’s pursuit of her, but however breaks off her engagement to Cecil, and makes plans to visit Greece.

George has also decided that he must move for peace of mind and makes arrangements. Lucy stops by Reverend Beebe’s and is confronted by George’s father before they are to leave town.

She suddenly realises that the only reason that she planned to travel was to escape her feelings for George. What is finally shown in this captivating romance film is that the young lovers are at the end united since the viewer is shown George and Lucy in the Italian guesthouse where they initially met, in that fateful room with the view.

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