- 2 hr 20 min
In the 1987 film Maurice, directed by James Ivory and based on the novel by E.M. Forster, we follow the story of Maurice Hall, a young man from an affluent British family who is coming to terms with his sexuality in the Edwardian era. Maurice, played by James Wilby, begins the film as a student at Cambridge University, where he meets Clive Durham, played by Hugh Grant. Clive is a more reserved young man who comes from a well-to-do family, and Maurice is immediately drawn to his intelligence and charisma. The two become fast friends, but soon their relationship becomes something more. Maurice realizes he has feelings for Clive that go beyond just friendship, and the two begin a secret, illicit relationship. The film explores the difficulties that come with being gay in such a repressive era, particularly for men in upper-class society. Maurice and Clive struggle to maintain their relationship in secret, and when they are eventually discovered, they face backlash from both their families and society at large. Clive decides to end their relationship, marrying a woman instead, and Maurice is left heartbroken. From there, Maurice goes through a period of trying to deny his feelings and conform to societal expectations. He begins dating women and even becomes engaged to a woman named Anne, played by Phoebe Nicholls. However, he is unable to shake his attraction to men, and eventually meets Alec Scudder, played by Rupert Graves, a young gamekeeper on one of his family's estates. Maurice and Alec begin a secret relationship, but run into many of the same problems that Maurice and Clive did. The film features powerful scenes of the men struggling to stay true to themselves while also navigating their place in society. They must hide their relationship from the world, and even from Maurice's family and Anne. Throughout the film, we see Maurice evolve from a young man who is unsure of himself and his place in the world, to a more self-assured and confident individual who is determined to live according to his own values and desires. The film features stunning performances by its entire cast, particularly James Wilby who brings a quiet intensity to Maurice's character. One of the most striking aspects of the film is its treatment of homosexuality in the context of Edwardian-era Britain. While homosexuality was technically illegal at the time, the film portrays it as something that is widely known and understood within certain circles of society. However, this understanding does not necessarily translate into acceptance or tolerance, and the film is unflinching in its portrayal of the backlash that Maurice and his loved ones face as a result of their sexuality. The cinematography of the film is also worth noting, with beautiful scenery and settings that lend a dreamlike quality to the story. The film is both somber and tender, exploring themes of love, desire, and the often-overwhelming pressure to conform to societal norms. Overall, Maurice is a powerful film that remains relevant to this day. It is a testament to the struggles and triumphs of those who have fought for the right to love whomever they choose, regardless of societal expectations or laws. Featuring outstanding performances from its cast and a beautifully crafted story, Maurice is a must-watch for anyone who values LGBTQ+ representation in cinema.