A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) arrives in Italy with her straitlaced aunt Charlotte (Maggie Smith). Disappointed at not getting the room with a view they had been promised when making their reservations at the inn, they are not sure whether it is proper to accept the offer of Mr. Emerson (Denholm Elliot) and his son George (Julian Sands), staying at the same inn, to switch rooms so they may have a view after all. Reassured by the clergyman, Mr. Beebe (Simon Callow), they agree. Later, out in the countryside, George impetuously kisses Lucy, and her aunt, horrified, whisks her back to England. There, Lucy is engaged to Cecil. The Emersons move into a cottage near the Honeychurch family, invited by Cecil, who does not realize that Lucy knows them. Lucy does her best to resist her attraction to George, but ultimately breaks the engagement to Cecil, marries George, and returns with him to the room with a view.
Is it any good?
This lush, satisfying romance is about having the courage to face one's feelings, and to risk intimacy, fully knowing and being known by another person. George never hesitates to take that risk. Cecil, sensitively played by Daniel Day-Lewis as a full character and not a caricature of a fop, has feelings but will never be able to "take to live as (he) plays." Clearly, he does care deeply for Lucy, but he does not have the passionate nature to respond to hers fully, as George does. As George says, Cecil "is the sort who can't know anyone intimately, least of all a woman," someone who wants Lucy as an ornament, perhaps to enjoy her passionate nature by proxy, not realizing that his own proximity is likely to stifle it. George wants Lucy "to have ideas and thoughts and feelings, even when I hold you in my arms."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how lush natural settings have a powerful effect on fictional characters, especially those in love, or wanting to fall in love. In Shakespeare, lovers go to the woods to straighten things out. In the British literature of the 19th and early 20th century, they often go to Italy, which represents freedom from repression. The wheat field where George kisses Lucy is in sharp contrast to the manicured lawns of the Honeychurch home, as the precise and cerebral Cecil is in contrast to the passionate George. Questions for Kids: What leads Lucy to break her engagement to Cecil? What leads her to accept her feelings for George. Mr. Emerson refers to a "Yes! And a Yes! And a Yes" at the "side of the Everlasting Why." What does this mean? What is the meaning of the title?
For kids who love romance and travel
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