I wish this movie were more readily available — as far as I can tell, Maurice (1987) is only found on DVD and VHS these days, and the new DVDs are super-rare and expensive (used ones go cheaper). It doesn’t appear anywhere for legal streaming, and I’ve had a TiVo reminder set for ages to auto-record it if the film ever plays on cable, but no dice. This makes me pretty sad because Maurice is a good movie overall, one of those classic Merchant-Ivory E.M. Forster adaptions that beautifully captures the period, AND it’s a moving story of how a gay man comes to terms with his sexual orientation and finds love in completely repressed Edwardian England.
The movie won critical acclaim for the directing and performances when it was first released, and the design team of Jenny Beavan and John Bright earned a nomination for Best Costume Oscar. But Maurice itself has been hidden away, much like the novel’s manuscript, which wasn’t published until after Forster died in 1970, and the laws against homosexual acts had changed in Britain.
If you get the chance to see it, I highly recommend watching Maurice. It’s sweet, romantic, touching, dreamy, funny, and sexy. James Wilby navigates the waters as Maurice (pronounced “Morris”) from confusion and frustration to determination and joy. Hugh Grant, as his first lover, shows the tragic side of ignoring your true self. And Rupert Graves is winsome as Maurice’s love that knows no bounds.
This movie aired on IFC, back when IFC was airing real, independent, challenging films. It’s a remarkable piece of work, and very frank without being pandering.
Sad to have missed that airing! I saw the film in the theaters (having also read the book), & I’ve only seen clips since then :(
I too saw this in the theater at the time of its release (I was in junior high at the time!) and have never forgotten it. It’s one of the most faithful book-to-screen adaptations I’ve ever seen. I bought the Criterion Collection dvd new about 10 years ago for around $30, and your post made me head over to Amazon to see how much it’s going for these days. OUCH! :( If you ever do get the opportunity to own it for a more reasonable price, jump – even for a Criterion release, it’s exemplary. Worth it for the deleted scenes alone, which reveal that Merchant/Ivory basically filmed EVERYTHING in the novel, including the controversial/difficult Dickie the doctor’s nephew storyline.
(I also remember that A&E showed the film, with commercials but uncut for content, way back in the early ’90s. Can’t imagine them doing it now…)
I bought the VHS when it first came out. Beautiful film and I love anything with Rupert Graves in it!