Rating: NNNNNTHE HOUSE OF MIRTH (Terence Davies, 2000) has been widely overlooked, mainly because the film's American publicists botched their.
THE HOUSE OF MIRTH (Terence Davies, 2000) has been widely overlooked, mainly because the film’s American publicists botched their job royally, hosting press screenings without inviting anyone and failing to put out ads when and where it mattered. As a result of this incompetence, it didn’t get included on year-end best film lists, and Gillian Anderson did not get the Oscar nomination she richly deserved. If she’s stuck on The X-Files for the rest of her career, we’ll know who to blame. The House Of Mirth is a costume drama that puts other costume dramas to shame. Davies had neither the budget nor the inclination to showcase a bunch of swishing dresses and extravagant sets. Instead, he draws us into his world with painterly compositions and devastating silence. Edith Wharton’s 1905 novel about a woman holding out for a rich husband in a society determined to penalize her ambition has uncomfortable resonance in today’s world. Anderson’s Lily Bart is too independent to fit in and too needy to leave. Once the heady chatter of the first hour subsides, the rest of the film traces her downfall with such respect and clarity that it earns its wrenching finale. Don’t miss it. NNNNN (June 7-10, Revue)