Washington Square

( 2 )

Overview

This film is the second effort to bring to the screen the 1880 Henry James novel of the same title the first was The Heiress in 1949. Set in 1850 among the aristocracy of New York, Washington Square examines the inhibitions of Catherine Sloper Jennifer Jason Leigh, the only child of wealthy Dr. Austin Sloper Albert Finney. Catherine is clumsy and shy and something of an embarrassment to her high-class father. Dr. Sloper still unconsciously resents the child because her birth caused the death of his wife. He also ...
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Overview

This film is the second effort to bring to the screen the 1880 Henry James novel of the same title the first was The Heiress in 1949. Set in 1850 among the aristocracy of New York, Washington Square examines the inhibitions of Catherine Sloper Jennifer Jason Leigh, the only child of wealthy Dr. Austin Sloper Albert Finney. Catherine is clumsy and shy and something of an embarrassment to her high-class father. Dr. Sloper still unconsciously resents the child because her birth caused the death of his wife. He also disapproves of Catherine's attraction to Morris Townsend Ben Chaplin, warning her that the handsome young man is after her money. He takes Catherine to Europe and warns her to break off her relationship with Morris, but she defies him. Townsend proposes, and Catherine accepts despite her father's threats to disinherit her if she marries him. ~ Michael Betzold
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
After the critical lashing she received for Total Eclipse, Agnieszka Holland takes another, more successful stab at the period piece, this time adapting Henry James for the screen. Too many films based on classic literature risk brittleness in their attention to historical detail, but Holland and first-time screenwriter Carol Doyle present James' world as not so very different from our own. The tangled financial, familial, and romantic motivations that drive the plot would work in almost any time period, but the filmmakers include just enough Victorian social anthropology to differentiate the material from its contemporary equivalent. Jennifer Jason Leigh brings her usual meticulous technique to a less showy role than she usually fills. The interest lies not in her character's tics or instabilities, but in the way Leigh subtly demonstrates Catherine's evolution -- from clumsy girl to love-struck teen to grave, mournful, yet joyfully resolute woman. As Morris Townsend, Ben Chaplin makes an effective heartthrob; the character's mixture of noble ideals and callow grasping seems completely natural in his competent hands. The rest of the fine cast is led by the esteemed Albert Finney, as Catherine's conflicted father, but the best job comes from the reliable Maggie Smith, who turns in yet another hilarious supporting role, this time as Lavinia Penniman, Catherine's fretful, widowed aunt.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/6/1999
  • UPC: 786936032987
  • Original Release: 1997
  • Rating:

  • Source: Walt Disney Video
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jennifer Jason Leigh Catherine Sloper
Albert Finney Dr. Austin Sloper
Ben Chaplin Morris Townsend
Maggie Smith Aunt Lavinia Penniman
Judith Ivey Mrs. Elizabeth Almond
Betsy Brantley Mrs. Montgomery
Jennifer Garner Marian Almond
Peter Maloney Jacob Webber/Notary
Robert Stanton Arthur Townsend
Technical Credits
Agnieszka Holland Director
Roger Birnbaum Producer
Anna Sheppard Costumes/Costume Designer
Allan Starski Production Designer
Chrisann Verges Associate Producer
Jerzy Zielinski Cinematographer
David Siegel Editor
Debra Zane Casting
J. Miller Tobin Asst. Director
Alan Muraoka Art Director
Michael Barosky Sound/Sound Designer
Randy Ostrow Executive Producer
Jan A.P. Kaczmarek Score Composer
Julie Bergman Sender Producer
William A. Cimino Set Decoration/Design
Carol Doyle Screenwriter
Henry James Source Author
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Unobtained Love

    This movie is for those who appreciate silence and down-time. Albert Finney, Jennifer Jason-Leigh, Maggie Smith and Ben Chaplin do justice to their characters and the movie ends as it should. Jennifer Jason-Leigh is a bit more melancholy and less vengeful than her predecessor, Donna Reed in the original, The Heiress. But, both movies are highly recommended, especially the original, if you can get your hands on it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews