The Bostonians

Watch The Bostonians

"An intimate and exquisite probe of the feminist heart."
  • NR
  • 1984
  • 2 hr 2 min
  • 6.2  (2,361)
  • 59

The Bostonians is a drama film from 1984 that tells the story of Olive Chancellor (Vanessa Redgrave), a wealthy feminist intellectual from Boston in the 19th century. Olive is passionate about the women's suffrage movement and spends much of her time and money supporting it. She meets a young and charming lawyer named Basil Ransom (Christopher Reeve) who has conservative views and opposes the suffrage movement. Despite their ideological differences, they develop a romantic attraction to each other.

Olive introduces Basil to her protégé, Verena Tarrant (Madeleine Potter), a beautiful and intelligent young woman who is also a feminist and a speaker at suffrage rallies. Verena is charmed by Basil's charisma and traditional views, which causes Olive to feel threatened that Verena may abandon the suffrage cause and marry Basil instead.

As Basil and Verena grow closer, Olive becomes increasingly possessive and manipulative towards Verena. She introduces Verena to influential feminists and intellectuals in Boston, including Mrs. Farraday (Jessica Tandy), a wealthy widow who is also a feminist and long-time friend of Olive's. Mrs. Farraday takes a liking to Verena and wants to make her the face of the suffrage movement. Olive is thrilled by this prospect and pushes Verena to accept Mrs. Farraday's invitation to join her in Europe for a year to promote women's rights.

Meanwhile, Basil becomes more and more disillusioned with Olive's feminist movement and her aggressive tactics towards anyone who opposes it. He begins to see Olive's behavior towards Verena as manipulative and controlling. He tries to convince Verena that she is being used by Olive and that she should choose her own path in life. However, Verena is torn between her loyalty to Olive and her growing feelings for Basil.

The climax of the film takes place in Mrs. Farraday's estate in Europe where Verena is expected to speak at a suffrage rally. Basil arrives uninvited and confronts Olive about her behavior towards Verena. He accuses Olive of trying to control Verena's life and using her for her own political agenda. Verena becomes angry and feels betrayed by both Olive and Basil. She gives a passionate speech at the rally where she explains that she is tired of being used by others and that she wants to make her own choices in life.

The film ends with Basil and Olive parting ways, each going their own separate paths in life. Verena is left to decide whether to continue her involvement in the suffrage movement or to pursue her own personal happiness.

Overall, The Bostonians is a beautifully crafted film that explores themes of feminism, freedom, love, and identity. The performances by Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Reeve, and Jessica Tandy are outstanding, and the film's exquisite period detail and stunning cinematography transport the viewer back in time to late-19th century Boston and Europe. While the film may be slow-paced and dialogue-heavy, it is a thought-provoking and insightful portrayal of one of the most important social and political movements in history.

The Bostonians is a 1984 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 2 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.2 and a MetaScore of 59.

The Bostonians
Where to Watch The Bostonians
The Bostonians is available to watch free on Tubi TV and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, The Roku Channel, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Bostonians for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 2 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.2  (2,361)
  • Metascore