|WINGS OF THE DOVE (1997)|
Helena Bonham Carter
|"Every time she smiles, remember that I love you more."|
|Time: 101 mins.|
Academy Award nominations for Best Actress (Carter), Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
WINGS OF THE DOVE is a sumptious adaption of another Henry James story about repression, illicit love and ultimate betrayal. The main character is Kate (Helena Bonham Carter), a young woman who is dependant on the whims of a rich aunt for her survival. Life with her aunt has elevated Kate into the upper classes of London society, a place her aunt is determined she will stay. Unfortunately, she is desperately in love with Merton (Linus Roach), a man from her former life, who her aunt makes quite clear is not good enough for her. After sneaking around to be with him, Kate is issued an ultimatum if it doesn't stop not only will she be cast out, her father will be cut off as well.
So, she does what any desperate girl in the early 1900's would do, she gives up her true love. I thank God I wasn't born then. Though you can't just marry for love, you shouldn't have to just marry for money either. On the flip side, Kate is being sought after by Lord Mark, who has property and a title, but no income. However, though he falls in love with Kate, he cannot marry her because she doesn't have any money. Enter Millie (Allison Elliot), an American heiress dying of some serious illness. Kate and Millie become fast friends, who happen to share the same taste in men. Millie falls in love with Merton at first sight during a party he arranges to be at to see Kate. Since class restrictions are of no concern to Millie, she asks Kate about him. Kate is disconcerted at first, but Merton only has eyes for her. When she accidently finds out about Millie's illness, Kate hatches a plan that eventually brings about the downfall of not only her friendship with Millie, but the love of her life as well.
The trio travels to Venice, where Kate convinces Merton to woo Millie in the hope that she will leave them her money thus allowing them to break free of the bounds of class and live their life the way they wish. However, she can't overcome her jealously at seeing Merton and Millie together and returns to London to await the outcome of her plan. Though he's attracted to Millie and enjoys her company, Merton cannot betray his love for Kate. He is devestated when Millie enters the final stages of her illness and is racked by guilt when she discovers his relationship with Kate and their plan. Needless to say, things don't quite go well for our lovers. Merton does get the money, but he refuses to take it. And Kate, well, she can't live with a man who's in love with the memory of another woman. What's that saying about the "best laid plans"?
The performances are wonderful and passionate. The locations and costumes are beautiful. Linus Roach exudes a quiet sexuality that would make any woman's heart melt. Allison Elliot fairly glows for a dying young woman, and Helena is at her devious best. Though we should dislike Kate, she has a strength of purpose and a true love for Merton that's irresistable. I couldn't help but think that if I were in her shoes, I would have done the same thing. All's fair in love and war after all. Unfortunately, in the end, Millie won. If you like period pieces that truly engage the mind with characters that are intelligent and full of life, then WINGS OF THE DOVE is a film you should see.