In honor of the 150th anniversary of the great Edith Wharton’s birth, here’s a clip from a beautiful (and, I think, little-seen) film of one of Wharton’s classic novels: “The House of Mirth.” Terence Davies directed this 2000 drama, starring Gillian Anderson as Lily Bart, a beautiful, orphaned socialite in early 1900s-New York, who learns tragically that her social circle is not welcoming to a single woman without family or money. (And with an unfortunate habit of losing money at cards.) Eric Stoltz plays Lawrence Selden, an attorney who loves Lily and understands her, but cannot marry her. It’s a stately, elegant film, shot in breathtakingly lovely, dusty light; and Anderson’s performance is a model of fiery control. Davies, a British filmmaker (“Distant Voices, Still Lives”), understands the power of quietness and restraint; his next film, another beautiful literary adaptation set in a bygone era (“The Deep Blue Sea,” which I saw at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall and loved), will open here later in the spring.
And with that, I’m off on a post-Oscars break. P&P will be on furlough, as will I, until Wednesday the 14th. Hope you see some great movies during that time — and we’ll talk “Hunger Games” (coming March 23!) and “Mad Men” (coming March 25!) when I get back.