In the middle of the 19th century, the stern and somewhat puritanical values of native New Englanders were little changed from early Colonial times. In this adaptation of Henry James' novel The Europeans, The Countess Eugenia (Lee Remick) and her brother Robert (Robin Ellis) are expatriate Americans who have grown up mainly in Europe. They have also grown accustomed to living well and have returned to see their New England relatives to try and take advantage of their prosperity by contracting an advantageous marriage with one of their wealthy cousins. The American cousins see them as charming, well-educated, and shockingly dissolute. Despite some successes, Eugenia is unable to achieve her objectives, but Robert fares somewhat better. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi
Eveyone has a an Authenric Dud in their past. This is the duddiest of Merchant-Ivory films. It is even beyond the sort of redemption which might be afforded by a fine actress such as the late Lee Remick.
It is a kindness to say that this film is duller than flat custard, imperceptably slow. loaded down with meandering characters who have no point, purpose or identity and burdened with events which fall beyond the viewer's caring, This is the least watchable, least coherent of the Merchant-Ivory films. Do your utmost to assiduously avoid this film when opportunity arises.
I expected so much more from the very talented team of Merchant and Ivory. This movie was a huge bore, and I say this as a life-long fan of Henry James literature. This movie is just one boring scene of stilted dialogue after another, with the slowest-moving plot and forgettable music. Skip this one, read the book instead if you're curious.