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Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » The House of Mirth » User review

The predecessor of Gossip Girl... sort of

  • Dec 15, 2008
  • by
Rating:
+4

If you're a fan of Gossip Girl, you might know of two characters named Lily Van Der Woodsen and Bart Bass. These two names are a reference to Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth, a 1905 novel featuring protagonist Lily Bart, an young unmarried woman navigating the cut-throat politics of New York high society. 

Since Wharton's story is more powerful as a novel than a screenplay, the film adaptation really had the potential to become another dead-in-the-water period film. What saves it is the nuanced acting, which is more about subtle gestures and quiet tones rather than repressed heaving bosoms.

The actors are unconventional — and surprisingly good. Gillian Anderson, better known as the scientifically inclined Agent Scully on The X-Files, plays Lily Bart. Eric Stoltz, most recently best known as druggie in Pulp Fiction, plays her love interest, journalist Gerty Farish. 

The conversations between thwarted lovers Lily and Gerty are full of innuendo, shadowy sentiments … and are basically exercises in extended foreplay. Which is why I LOVE it!

Though its set design and costumes aren't the most elaborate or impressive like Merchant Ivory films, it's by far my favorite period film. The writing is elegant and streamlined, you can feel the heat and tension between the simplest of exchanges, and the claustrophobia of the era's social conventions. 

On a side note, it also cemented my crush on Eric Stoltz. Sigh…

Still from House of Mirth

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January 30, 2009
I'm so glad you put Gossip Girl in the title..... I feel like I HAVE to read and watch this! Did you read the book too? Jeez I'm so excited!
 
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About the reviewer

Ranked #84
I'm a curious foodie, a devout fashion gawker, and an unrepentant print nerd. I work at one of the last mainstream commercial magazines that's still printing.      Other things … more
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Genre: Drama, Romance
Release Date: December 22, 2000
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 2hrs 23min
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