Carrington Movie Review

I hate to stereotype...but I will anyway. I simply find it inconceivable that a real woman could go for 17 years without once changing her hair. The woman in question is Emma Thompson, portraying English painter Dora Carrington in post-WWI England. The hairdo in question is a peculiar blonde bob that has the daunting task of making Thompson look "boyish."

If you're like me, you're saying to yourself, "Who is this Dora Carrington, and why would someone make a movie about her?" Well, I still don't have the answer to that one. Carrington was something of a homebody who thrived on shocking Victorian sensibilities with her outrageous behavior, the bulk of which involved sexual promiscuity in some fashion or another. Most notable among her odd and largely meaningless "flings" was a doomed-from-the-start relationship with troublesome writer Lytton Strachey (Jonathan Pryce), a bearded, neo-Oscar Wilde who couldn't function normally without substantial babysitting from Carrington and/or any number of her lovers.

Together, Carrington and Lytton meander through 17 years of love and hate, happiness and anger, life and death. With its promising start, Carrington begins by introducing the real star of the film, Lytton, but shortly thereafter, the movie bogs down in irrelevant, plodding details about Carrington's life and love interests. Soon, I was wondering what the point was to all of this, and I never did find out, as the only remotely empathetic character was Lytton.

Jonathan Pryce, who won Best Actor at Cannes, is deserving of all the praise he's received. He manages to bring Lytton alive so well that when he's not on the screen, the film completely stalls out. In fact, the movie is based on a book entitled "Lytton Strachey." Why screenwriter/director Christopher Hampton (who recently bombed with Total Eclipse) felt Dora Carrington was a more interesting person is beyond me.

Other than Pryce, the raucous comedy at the film's opening, and a great score by Michael Nyman (The Piano), there's not much to redeem this picture. Incidentally, this script was written in 1976, and only now has it been produced. It isn't hard to see why it took so long.

Cast & Crew


Comments

sensesoc's picture

sensesoc

I agree with the comment, strongly. Whilst the comment established that D Carrington is worthy of a biopic, it has to be added that the film is entirely well-considered, the feel, the quality of the acting, the dialogue and the emotional pace are entirely absorbing and at no point does one feel like they're being treated as a dull, short-attention-spanned consumer of film. I would place this on my list of favourite films. Furthermore, the review does nothing to reflect the point of the film, that facetious rant on the hair-style is irritating. Did the reviewer watch this film on a coach on the way back from a boozy weekend in Calais and miss the point completely?

6 years 6 months ago
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Moviebuffer's picture

Moviebuffer

It's obvious the reviewer hasn't taken the time to find out about Dora Carrington nor her prominance as a painter today. He also ought to read something (and there are many books) about Carrington, Strachey and their relationship as well as art books published about Carrington's work. One of the well known facts about Carrington was that she never exhibited her paintings and thus remained obscure; this is why her story needs to be told. She is recognized now as a extremely good artist who was possibly held back by her attachment to Strachey. The film isn't completely accurate about their real-life relationship; there were for example long periods when they did not live together. Their lifestyle was quite typical of the Bloomsbury group. As for her hair (a facetious set of comments by the reviewer) Carrington did in fact wear her hair in the same style all her life. It suited her and, I would say, it suited Emma Thompson pretty well too. The apparent ignorance of this reviewer is apparent.

6 years 9 months ago
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Carrington Rating

" Weak "

Rating: R, 1995

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