Thank you, Amazon Reviews, especially http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/guides/guide-display/-/XM10VUQDAZ1K/ref=cm_bg_dp_l_3/102-4790198-2951367
Movies to see: 84 Charing Cross Road: (& etc.)
... supposed to be a comedy/drama about booklovers!
Amazon.com essential video
Helene Hanff (Anne Bancroft) and Frank Doel (Anthony Hopkins) are lifelong friends who never meet in this unique comedy-drama based on a true story. Hanff and Doel are separated by 3,000 miles of ocean and joined by a passion for old books. Their relationship begins when New Yorker Hanff orders a copy ("unabridged, please!") of Pepys's diary. Doel, as polite and soft-spoken as Hanff is loud and overbearing, fields the request from his book shop in London. For the next two decades they correspond without ever actually sitting down for tea and crumpets. Brit director David Jones (Betrayal) does a reasonably good job of goosing a movie about something as uncinematic as letter writing, and the stars have fun chewing scenery on both sides of the Atlantic. The model for this kind of bittersweet relationship is David Lean's Brief Encounter, which, not coincidentally, is glimpsed here when Hanff steps out for a rainy-day matinee. --Glenn Lovell
Howards End (1992)
Howards End is E.M. Forster's beautifully subtle story of the crisscrossing paths of the privileged and those they disdain--and of a remarkable pair of women who can see beyond class distinctions. Dramatic and tragic, but also surprisingly funny, this James Ivory film focuses on a pair of unmarried sisters (Emma Thompson, who won an Oscar, and Helena Bonham Carter) who befriend a poor young clerk (Sam West) and, without meaning to, ruin his life. Meanwhile, Thompson also makes the acquaintance of a dying neighbor (Vanessa Redgrave), who leaves her a family home in her will--which her husband (Anthony Hopkins) destroys. But, ironically, he meets and falls in love with Thompson, even as their paths once more intersect with the increasingly miserable young clerk. Nuanced acting, gorgeous but muted cinematography, and a beautifully economical script by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, which also won an Oscar. --Marshall Fine
A Room With A View (1986)
A superb English cast in the acclaimed comedy of manners from Merchant/Ivory based on E.M. Forster's novel of wit and romance. Off to the sensuous landscape of Florence for her horizon-broadening tour, Lucy, a perfectly proper young Edwardian lady, is chaperoned by her even more proper Aunt Charlotte. At the merest hint of scandal--Lucy is kissed by an improper suitor--Charlotte whisks her back to the serene English countryside, where she is betrothed to a supposedly suitable gentleman, insufferably in love with himself. With its "superb ensemble acting, intelligent writing and stunning design" (The New York Times), this delightful comedy of manners sparkles with keen observations of class behavior and genuine humor.