The House of Mirth

Director: Terence Davies
Year Released: 2000
Rating: 2.5

I still love Davies' style - slow, pensive camera, lingering shots - but I can't say the same about the story, which seems so familiar (Merchant-Ivory familiar, if I may be so explicit). Tragic heroine Lily (Gillian Anderson) can't find the right suitor to marry - some she finds too boorish, others, simply not her type - and society reacts negatively to her outsider status. Many strange events creep up to cause problems - Laura Linney's character, a hypocrite who runs around, turns the tables on her, accusing Lily of being with her husband, Dan Ackroyd wants her as his little lust-toy - forcing her to revoke her upper-class status and descend rank-wise to "mingle" with the poor (How tragic! She might actually have to sew something!), bringing on, naturally, drug addiction. At least Wilde's An Ideal Husband is cute in parts - this is boorish-cerebral, without much to hold on to. Anyone who says Anderson's performance is weak needs to re-evaluate what he/she considers a good performance to be, but I must add that the film is over praised in the elitist film circles - it's much too long, familiar (as I said before) and unremitting in its desire to cause its lead to suffer (and in her own willingness to suffer - at what point does logic enter the picture? Just find someone, I kept thinking). Anthony LaPaglia is fantastic as a crafty businessman.