Sunday, February 8, 2015


Movie Name: Carrington
Year of Release: 1995
Director: Christopher Hampton
Stars: Emma Thompson, Jonathan Pryce, Steven Waddington, Samuel West, Rufus Sewell, Penelope Wilton, Janet McTeer, Jeremy Northam, Alex Kingston, Sebastian Harcombe, Richard Clifford
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

Christopher Hampton's has built his career mostly as a screenwriter (and playwriter), having won an Academy Award for writing Stephen Frears' adaptation of "Dangerous Liaisons" (based on the Choderlos de Laclos novel). "Carrington" is his first foray into directing, and it's an adaptation of Michael Holroyd's book, which details the relationship between Dora Carrington, a young painter, and Lytton Strachey in the early 20th century. Strachey, who is part of the literary group, Bloomsbury Group (which also featured E.M. Forster, Virginia Wolf and John Maynard Keynes), is first introduced to Dora Carrington during a Summer vacation where they are both staying with mutual friends. While initially repulsed by each other, their friendship slowly grows, as does Dora's beautiful work and Strachey's reputation as writer. Their relationship never blossoms into an amorous one, since Strachey is openly gay, but they eventually live together in the same household, while their romantic liaisons come and go.
Christopher Hampton's debut film, smartly anchors itself in the relationship between these two celebrated artists, which allows the actors portraying them, to build characters that are multidimensional. The director is influenced by the style imprinted by James Ivory (particularly in the impeccable production design and general aesthetic), but manages to build a narrative of his own, allowing for the lives of Dora Carrington and Lytton Strachey to be brought to life with all the complexity associated with them. These are people who are flawed, with inner struggles, and who find in each other solace and a love that transcends their sexual preferences. The performances from Jonathan Pryce and Emma Thompson are truly fantastic, as is the beautiful score from Michael Nyman. An underrated film worth watching!