Tuesday’s Overlooked Film: The Wings of the Dove

This week’s pick is a beautifully paced, emotional and in the end tragic film from 1997. Iain Softely’s screen adaptation of the Henry James novel, The Wings of the Dove wonderfully portrays the romance, passion and pathos that you would not otherwise expect in an Edwardian period costumed drama.

It is a story about the lengths one will go to get what they want most in life – love. That sounds like a noble enough pursuit; however as displayed in this film, the course never runs according to plan and often, the outcome is not what you expect or hope for. The film is also a clear statement on how social class, money and privilege as forces that often lead to drastic actions.

The Wings of the Dove features a wonderful cast which includes Helena Bonham Carter, Linus Roache, Charlotte Rampling, Alison Elliot and Michael Gambon.

Despite seemingly flying under the radar, the film did get recognized around awards season, including a Best Actress nod for Helena Bonham Carter. By far I feel that this was her finest moment in creating a character that on one hand you empathize with but on the other you despise her for her actions. Initially her motives may be noble and driven by a pure, unselfish act (love) but she acts upon them in the most selfish manipulative way.

Of the many costume dramas to have come out over the past 20 plus years, I definitely think that this film ranks among the best.


  1. Patti Abbott says:

    Finally-one I have seen. And loved.

    • Hi Patti. Welcome to the site. I debated adding this because it was critically acclaimed but it is one of those films that I ultimately feel like not enough people have seen.

  2. I’m almost embarrassed to say I’ve never seen this film. But after reading your glowing recommendation, I’ve added it to my Netflix queue. I think I was put off by the whole tragic ending thing when I first heard about the movie years ago. I’m SO not a tragic ending kind of gal. I often feel as if I’ve seen and read just about every tragic ending I’m going to put up with for now.

    But, there’s always the exception to any rule. 🙂

  3. I’ve been wanting to check this one out. I remember seeing a clip of the subway scene and was really intrigued by it. I feel that Linus Roache is such an underrated actor.

  4. Question: How do you get the trailer to fit so seamlessly into your post? AND more importantly, I like that you do not have to leave your blog to view the trailer. If you would explain this to me in very simple kindergarten instructions, I would be eternally grateful. THANK YOU in advance. 🙂

  5. I embed and align them on my page. To simply embed, here are the instructions: http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?answer=171780

    Because my blog’s template is old, I check the Use old embed code item. I am also a bit picky about alignment so I go into HTML mode and do sometimes do a

    alignment to center them.

    Hope that helps!

  6. I’d need to see this as a film allowing Carter to dig in, on that standard alone (as opposed to something like THE KING’S SPEECH, where I understand she elevates her slight role).

  7. @Todd a very good performance indeed.

  8. Thanks for the instructions link. I too tend to the fussy when it comes to alignment, but lately my google blogger thing has defeated my attempts to align as sharply as I would like.

    Truth to tell, it actually drives me NUTS!!


  1. […] The Wings of the Dove (1999); see previous entry. […]

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge