Review: ‘Maurice’

Maurice, based on a posthumously published novel by E.M. Forster, is a well-crafted pic on the theme of homosexuality. Penned in 1914 but not allowed to be published until 1971 (a year after Forster's death) because of its subject matter, Maurice is not ranked among Forster's best work. Key opening scene has Maurice as a schoolboy on a beach-side outing being lectured by his teacher (Simon Callow), in comically fastidious fashion, on the changes that will soon occur in his body with the onset of puberty.

Maurice, based on a posthumously published novel by E.M. Forster, is a well-crafted pic on the theme of homosexuality. Penned in 1914 but not allowed to be published until 1971 (a year after Forster’s death) because of its subject matter, Maurice is not ranked among Forster’s best work. Key opening scene has Maurice as a schoolboy on a beach-side outing being lectured by his teacher (Simon Callow), in comically fastidious fashion, on the changes that will soon occur in his body with the onset of puberty.

Maurice Hall (James Wilby) is next seen grown up and attending Cambridge where, he meets handsome Clive Durham (Hugh Grant). Durham falls in love with him and though resisting at first Maurice later reciprocates, all on a platonic level.

Durham, under pressure from his mother (Judy Parfitt), gets married to a naive girl (Phoebe Nicholls) while Maurice finally physically consummates his homosexual inclination with Durham’s young game-keeper Alec Scudder (Rupert Graves).

Wilby as Maurice gives a workmanlike performance, adequate to the role but never soaring. He is far outshadowed by a superlative supporting cast.

1987: Nomination: Best Costume Design

Maurice

UK

Production

Merchant-Ivory. Director James Ivory; Producer Ismail Merchant; Screenplay Kit Hesketh-Harvey, James Ivory; Camera Pierre Lhomme; Editor Katherine Wenning; Music Richard Robbins; Art Director Brian Ackland-Snow

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1987. Running time: 140 MIN.

With

James Wilby Hugh Grant Rupert Graves Denholm Elliott Simon Callow Billie Whitelaw
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