A Chalice of Gold

My wife and I finally watched 'The Golden Bowl' recently (based on the Henry James novel).  We'd had it for a long time (and it was on my to-get list for over a year before that), but we just haven't had any time for movies recently.

Anyway, I'd been looking forward to it, having heard that it was a good story.  Plus, I've always been a big fan of Kate Beckinsale; I was disappointed that her role, while very important, was not more in the spotlight.

But the story itself was very good.  And Nikc Nolte, playing her father, did an extremely good job (playing pretty seriously against type, according to everything I've seen him in before).  I was impressed by him.

But the two key characters were their spouses, Jeremy Northam and Uma Thurman, respectively.  The movie actually opens with the two of them talking, establishing him as poor nobillity and her as well-educated by also poor.  He wanted to marry wealth, so that he could, for instance, rebuild the broken-down palace in which they were conversing.  And he thought she should marry wealth as well, and agreed to help her to that end.  But she insisted that she cared about no such thing, and would marry him, even if they were both impoverished.

From there, it cuts to Northam's Prince Amerigo (and of course, Vespucci came up immediately) getting ready to marry Beckinsale's Maggie Verver, daughter of the industrial magnate, and first billionaire, Adam Verver.  It all comes together a minute or two later when we find out that Thurman's Charlotte is an old, and dear, friend of Maggie.  The jaws click shut shortly thereafter when Charlotte agrees to marry the elder Verver.

It goes about as you'd expect from there, given the declarations above.

But it was still very interesting to watch.  The two Ververs reminded me a lot of my mother and grandfather, in terms of how close they were (without the billions, alas).

But the way everything came together in the end, and especially the ways that the various characters handled it, was very interesting to me.

The one weakness of the movie, to me, was explaining the attachment of both Maggie and Charlotte to Amerigo.  I imagine the book did a much better job, from that perspective.

But really, that was a pretty minor weakness, and I enjoyed the movie quite a bit.

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