Room with a View, A [1985]

The prestigious filmmaking trio of producer Ismail Merchant, director James Ivory, and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala had made other critically acclaimed films before A Room with a View was released in 1985, but it was this popular film that made them art-house superstars. Splendidly adapted from the novel by E.M. Forster, it's a comedy of the heart, a passionate romance and a study of repression within the British class system of manners and mores. It's that system of rigid behavior that prevents young Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) from accepting the loving advances of a free-spirited suitor (Julian Sands), who fears that she will follow through with her engagement to a priggish intellectual (Daniel Day-Lewis) whose capacity for passion is virtually nonexistent. During and after a trip to Italy with her protective companion (Maggie Smith), Lucy gradually gets in touch with her true emotions. The fun of watching A Room with a View comes from seeing how Lucy's thoughts and feelings finally arrive at the same romantic conclusion. Through an abundance of humor both subtle and overt, this crowd-pleasing "art movie" rose to an unexpected level of popular appeal. The Merchant-Ivory team received eight Academy Award nominations for their efforts, and won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, Art Direction, and Costume Design. --Jeff Shannon

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