The Wings of the Dove
I sat through the entirety of this Merchant-Ivory wannabe picture thinking to myself what a bitch Kate Croy (Helena Bonham Carter) was. Brought up by her wealthy aunt (Charlotte Rampling), Kate is in love with a commoner, journalist Merton Densher (Linus Roache). However, if she marries him, her aunt will leave her penniless.
Thus, Kate spends the whole film running around trying to figure out how she can screw somebody out of some cash. She's desperate to do the horizontal Lambada with Merton, but she'll only do it on silk sheets. When wealthy American heiress Millie Theale (Alison Elliott), who just happens to have a fatal disease, comes bounding into their lives, Kate and Merton's problems appear solved, which is usually what happens when rich Americans with fatal diseases go bounding anywhere. Kate and Merton befriend her so she'll leave them all her money.
What nice characters to put at the center of a film, eh? Kate is a conniving little tease and Merton is a dupe for putting up with all her crap. Merton is so desperate to get in Kate's pants that he's blinded by her material needs and narrow personality. The irony of the thing is that by the time Kate is riding him like a London trolley car, Merton isn't interested anymore.
Merton's disinterest occurs during the middle of the film when the love triangle moves to Venice and director Iain ("Hackers") Softley decides that the scenery is a lot more important than the story. Mostly, everybody rides around in those Venetian boats waiting for Millie to kick off. If only she had been contagious.
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