Maurice (movie)

Maurice (movie)

Movie: Maurice
Director: James Ivory
Released: 1987
Writers: Adapted from a novel by E.M. Forster by Kit Hesketh-Harvey and James Ivory.
Stars: James Wilby, Hugh Grant, Rupert Graves, & Sir Ben Kingsley.
Rating: 5 Stars out of 5


A guest review by NathanV

Maurice (pronounced Morris) is a tale about a young man named Maurice Hall (James Wilby). It follows his story from adolescence, through university, and into adult life. More than that, it follows Maurice’s discovery, attempt to cure, and ultimate embracement of homosexuality in early 20th century England. The film begins with Maurice as a young lad with his teacher trying to teach him about the mysteries of sex rather clumsily. Afterwards we find a rather confused and anxious young man attending to his studies whereupon he meets the dashing and carefree Clive Durham (Hugh Grant). The two begin a love affair, albeit a love affair that stops short of the “unspeakable vice of the Greeks.” As they enter adulthood, Clive begins to fear the opinion of others about such a relationship, especially after an old friend suffers through a nasty and public trial for his homosexuality.

Ismail Merchant and James Ivory are well known for their lush period piece films. They made Maurice right after another E.M. Forster based film, A Room with a View. E.M. Forster wrote his book Maurice in 1913 but it wasn’t published until 1971 after Forster’s death. There was a note discovered in the manuscript that read, “Publishable, but worth it?” Undoubtedly, this was in reference to the public and legal attitudes toward homosexuality in his day. Thankfully, by 1971, opinion had changed and we are now able to enjoy his masterful work.

Maurice is one of my favourite movies of all time. At 140 minutes in length it’s one of the longer gay movies out there. If you’re looking for a fabulous campy comedy, you’ve come to the wrong place. If, however, you are interested in watching superbly crafted characters with fantastic dialogue then you’ve definitely made a wise decision. As with all Merchant and Ivory productions, the sets are breath-taking and they even managed some on location shooting when King’s College opened it’s doors to film crews for the very first time. Sir Ben Kingsley is amazing as a cigar wielding American psychiatrist whom Maurice seeks out for advice about his homosexuality. He humorously advises Maurice to try and walk about with a gun.

I wanted to begin with a movie that I was willing to bestow a five star rating onto. In order to earn five stars, a movie has to make me feel emotions strongly and very few movies are able to accomplish this task. Maurice is a fabulous movie and an excellent example of what an LGBT movie is capable of.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I failed to discuss the amazing score composed by Richard Robbins. After watching this movie I was determined to purchase the soundtrack. At the time, it was not readily available on Amazon.com as it is now. I ended up tracking down a Japanese copy of the soundtrack from a seller in Amsterdam. I still enjoy listening to the soundtrack, particularly the music that plays in Clive’s final scene.

A perfect movie.

Fun Fact: Helena Bonham Carter has a brief uncredited cameo where she insults Maurice’s cricket skills.

18 comments

  • Terrific review, Nathan. 🙂

    I’ve not watched Maurice and that’s obviously remiss of me. I also feel like having a Merchant and Ivory marathon. I adore their films.

    Reply
  • @tj: thanks! One of my favourite movies of any genre.

    @Tam: I still find it hard to believe that there is no video rental store in Ottawa that doesn’t have “alternative” movies!

    @katiebabs: I love period pieces. And this one was gay themed too so it wasn’t likely to fail for me.

    @Larissa: thanks!

    @AnneBrooke: My pleasure.

    @DianneT: As well it should. Easily one of the best “gay” movies.

    @JColeWebster: What are other classic gay novels?

    Thanks everyone. If anyone has some movies that they’d like to see me review, I’d be happy to take requests. I’ll be doing Dream Boy next.

    Reply
  • Great review! Also to everybody out there you should read this book. I actually got a degree in gay literature and this is my all-time favorite gay classic! Wow I must have read this book at least 10 times and seen the movie almost as many. One of the best and it never gets old! I’m really very excited to see a review of it here. Thanks very much for the review, it has taken me back and makes me want to rummage around in my bookshelf for the copy!

    Reply
  • Thank you for this review. It reminded me that I have seen mention of this film in the past, but alas forgot to add it to my “list”!! It’s definitely on there now 🙂

    Reply
  • Hi Nathan! It certainly is a good choice for a first review and not a hard one too! This movie is great! As is your review 🙂 This movie certainly leaves an impression!

    Reply
  • Hi Nathan
    What a glowing review. Now I have to watch this movie.

    Your review makes the movie and the characters seem so vibrant and alive.

    Great job – I can’t wait for the next one. 🙂

    Reply
  • Watching Maurice is up there with Pride and Prejudice and North and South. If anyone enjoys period pieces, they will love Maurice.

    Reply
  • Great review Nathan. I was clueless as to the pronunciation thing. As I whined to you, we don’t have places here that rent gay movies. Well, not that I’ve found yet and I’m just not sure Netflix would be worth the money for a few. Sigh.

    I’ll have to do some more digging I guess and see if I can find this one since you’re recommended it so highly. Looking forward to your next one.

    Reply
    • Tam
      As an alternative to Netflix I believe that in one of Rogers’ TV packages you can get “Out TV” for about $2 to $3/month and maybe they will have some of the older movies so you dont have to rent them. It’s worth a try and I believe they give you the first month free. 🙂

      Reply
    • Hey Tam, recently I saw this movie at a second hand place close by for about 3 euro (+/- 6 dollars). If you weally weally weally want to see this movie, I can check if they still have it and send it to you. That is if you have a region free player?

      Reply
  • Hey Nathan,
    What a great choice for your first review. Maurice is one of my favorites as well. It’s so beautifully shot and wonderfully acted and, as you said, it really made me feel strong emotions. Great job on the review. Looking forward to your next one.

    Reply

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Author

“I’m a music major that plays the bassoon on a semi-regular basis. I doubt that I would enjoy a long walk on the beach. I play too many video games and watch quite a few more movies than I have the time for. I am perfectly willing to end a sentence with a preposition. See previous sentence. This year I’m the events co-ordinator for the Rainbow Reels Queer Film Festival and am excited and terrified by the impending responsibility. Should I grow up, I sincerely hope to be disreputable, or at the very least, have obtained some mild notoriety.”
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