Washington Square

Watch Washington Square

"She must choose between her father's fortune... Or the man she loves."
  • PG
  • 1997
  • 1 hr 55 min
  • 6.7  (3,617)

Washington Square is a period drama from 1997, directed by Agnieszka Holland and based on the novel of the same name by Henry James. The film stars Jennifer Jason Leigh as Catherine Sloper, a young heiress living in New York City in the mid-19th century, who falls in love with a dashing, but penniless, young man named Morris Townsend, played by Ben Chaplin. However, Catherine's overbearing and disapproving father, Dr. Austin Sloper, played by Albert Finney, disapproves of the match and tries to sabotage their burgeoning romance.

The plot of the film revolves around Catherine's relationship with Morris, as well as her fraught relationship with her father. The film begins with Catherine as a young girl, growing up in her father's shadow and never quite living up to his expectations. Her mother, who died when Catherine was young, was the warm, loving, and artistic personality that Catherine desperately craves, but she cannot seem to get past her father's disdain for her.

When Morris enters the picture, he represents everything that Catherine has been deprived of in her life: passion, romance, and the possibility of escape from her stifling existence. However, Morris's true intentions are called into question when her father, who has been increasingly hostile to the burgeoning romance, hires a private investigator to uncover Morris's true motives. It is later revealed that Morris is interested in Catherine only for her fortune, and when she discovers this, she is heartbroken.

Throughout the film, Catherine struggles with her feelings for Morris and her loyalty to her father. She is torn between her desire to make her own choices and her sense of duty to her family. Her relationship with her father is particularly fraught, as he is a cold, calculating, and domineering figure who seems to take pleasure in belittling and controlling his daughter. Catherine's desire for Morris represents a rebellion against her father's authority, but ultimately, she realizes that he might have been right all along.

The film's cast is stellar, with Jennifer Jason Leigh delivering a subtle and nuanced performance as Catherine. She portrays her with a quiet vulnerability and sensitivity that makes the character incredibly sympathetic. Albert Finney is fantastic as her father, imbuing the character with a sharp intellect and a cold detachment that is at times terrifying. Maggie Smith is also a standout as Aunt Lavinia, Catherine's compassionate and understanding confidante.

The film is beautifully shot, with director Agnieszka Holland capturing the period detail of mid-19th century New York City. The costumes and sets are lavish and authentic, transporting the viewer back in time to a bygone era. The film's score, composed by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, is also a highlight, with its classical strings and lilting melodies perfectly complementing the film's emotional tone.

Overall, Washington Square is a thoughtful and engrossing period drama that explores themes of love, duty, and family with sensitivity and depth. The film's top-notch performances and exquisite craftsmanship make it a must-see for fans of the genre.

Washington Square is a 1997 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 55 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.7.

Washington Square
Where to Watch Washington Square
Washington Square is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Washington Square for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 55 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.7  (3,617)