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Following the enormous success of A ROOM WITH A VIEW, the producer-director team of Ismail Merchant and James Ivory undertook another E.M. Forster adaptation, MAURICE, the story of a young man's homosexual awakening. Maurice Hall (James Wilby) is a wide-eyed Cambridge underclassman in
1910 where his elder classmates espouse the glories of classical civilization. Maurice and Clive Durham (Hugh Grant), an aristocratic music student, grow increasingly closer, until one day Clive tells Maurice that he loves him. Confused, Maurice initially rebuffs him and then confesses his love,
too, and attempts to consummate it physically. This time Clive is reticent. They remain in love but do not become lovers. As time passes, Maurice attempts to put his desires behind him. In the Merchant-Ivory tradition, MAURICE captures the look and spirit of Edwardian England in exquisite detail.
At its best, the film is moving and thought-provoking, but at other moments it is unintentionally silly. It is not the story but the telling of it that is the problem; at 140 minutes, MAURICE simply goes on too long. Nonetheless, the performances are generally convincing. Nominated by the Academy
for Best Costume Design.