The Governess (1998) from
Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
Tuna's comments in white:
The Governess (1998) was a film that I enjoyed more
the second time I watched it.
Minnie Driver plays a young Jewess whose father dies, leaving the family hurting financially.
Pretending to be a Christian, she takes a job as a governess to a
Scottish family. The father of the family is a scientist trying to
discover the secret of "fixation" to make photos last more than a day.
Minnie not only seduces him, but discovers the secret of fixation and
becomes a master photographer. Of course, the father takes all the
Portions of the film are beautifully
shot, and on second watching, I think it was more that imagery that
impressed me, because I remembered the story.
Driver shows a breast in two
scenes, and a great nude shot from the back. An unknown hooker
shows a breast early in the film as well.
Scoop's notes in yellow:
It is good to see a film come along now
and again which targets people with more than room temperature IQ's.
While this film occasionally wandered off in a precious direction, it
is an intelligent and thought-provoking effort. How many of those are
I enjoyed the male/female take on
the photographic process the father and the governess were developing
together. She saw it as an inchoate art form, and as a way to capture
memories and emotions. He saw it as a way to chronicle scientific
Tom Wilkinson, the father in this
film, was finally nominated for an Oscar in 2001 for In the Bedroom.
Although that was actually one of his least inspired roles, it was
certainly gratifying to see Hollywood finally recognize one of the
hardest workers and one of the most dependable actors in the
Minnie Driver showed great promise in
this film, and demonstrated that she was capable of far more than her
usual role as the designated girlfriend. Unfortunately, we never saw
that seed come to fruition in the subsequent years.
I really liked the parts of the film
that concentrated on the relationship between the governess (Driver)
and the father of the family (Wilkinson). The slow development of
their sexual tension was erotic. The father was fighting his
attraction to a younger woman who was not only beautiful and his
intellectual match, but who genuinely wanted him. We could see what
he could not - that his resistance was a losing effort.
Unfortunately, there was also a
sub-plot about her relationship with the son, and this part
irritated the hell out of me. It was completely over-the-top in that
special way that only sexually hysterical pubescent Victorians could
be. Imagine Wuthering Heights times five.
General consensus: two and a half stars.
Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 3/4, BBC 3/5, Apollo 70/100,
- IMDB summary.
IMDb voters score it 6.3/10, Apollo voters 72/100
- with their dollars: $4 million domestic
gross, arthouse distribution
guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of
excellence, about like three and a half stars
from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm
watchability, about like two and a half stars
from the critics. The fives are generally not
worthwhile unless they are really your kind of
material, about like two stars from the critics.
Films under five are generally awful even if you
like that kind of film, equivalent to about one
and a half stars from the critics or less,
depending on just how far below five the rating
guideline: A means the movie is so good it
will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not
good enough to win you over if you hate the
genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an
open mind about this type of film. C means it will only
appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover
appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you
like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if
you love the genre. F means that the film is not only
unappealing across-the-board, but technically
inept as well.
Based on this description,
it must be at least a C+ (both reviewers). It is a costume drama,
which is usually not my favorite genre, and I didn't mind this
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