Rent Maurice (1987)

3.9 of 5 from 123 ratings
2h 14min
Rent Maurice Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Set against the stifling conformity of pre-World War I English society, E.M. Forster's 'Maurice' is a story of coming to terms with one's sexuality and identity in the face of disapproval and misunderstanding. Maurice Hall (James Wilby) and Clive Durham (Hugh Grant) find themselves falling in love at Cambridge. In a time when homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment, the two must keep their feelings for one another a complete secret. After a friend is arrested and disgraced for "the unspeakable vice of the Greeks", Clive abandons his forbidden love and marries a young woman.
Maurice, however, struggles with his identity and self-confidence, seeking the help of a hypnotist to rid himself of his undeniable urges. But while staying with Clive and his naive wife, Anne (Phoebe Nicholls), Maurice is seduced by the affectionate and yearning servant Alec Scudder (Rupert Graves), which brings about profound changes in Maurice's life and outlook.
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Ismail Merchant
E.M. Forster, Kit Hesketh-Harvey, James Ivory
Jenny Beavan, John Bright, Richard Robbins
Film 4
Drama, Lesbian & Gay, Romance
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1987 Venice Film Festival Silver Lion

1987 Venice Film Festival Best Score

1987 Venice Film Festival Best Actor

Release Date:
Run Time:
134 minutes
English Dolby Digital 2.0
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.78:1 / 16:9
Release Date:
Run Time:
140 minutes
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English LPCM Mono, English LPCM Stereo
English Hard of Hearing
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.66:1
BLU-RAY Regions:
  • Maurice: A Director's Perspective (2017, 40 mins): a conversation between James Ivory and Tom McCarthy (director of Spotlight)
  • James Ivory and Pierre Lhomme on the making of Maurice (2017, 16 mins): the director and cinematographer talk to Gavin Smith
  • Q&A with James Ivory and Pierre Lhomme (2017, 23 mins) - moderated by Nicholas Elliot of Cahier du Cinema
  • Reflections on Maurice (2019, 19 mins): a new interview with actor James Wilby
  • Hugh Grant and James Wilby in conversation (2018, 5 mins)
  • Screening E M Forster (2019, 8 mins, audio only)
  • Original and Re-release Trailer
  • Deleted scenes
  • Newly recorded audio commentary by Professor Claire Monk of De Montfort University
Disc 1:
This disc includes the main feature
Disc 2:
This disc includes special features

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Reviews (1) of Maurice

Glittering but flawed - Maurice review by SB

Spoiler Alert

I had not previously seen this Merchant Ivory costume drama although it was made over 30 years ago. Nor have I read the Forster novel upon which it is based, so I can say nothing about how well the film encapsulates the book. But on its own terms at least there is much to admire about the film. It is rather like a beautifully-made watch. Everything works – the direction and cinematography are perfect, the casting is spot-on, not just for the lead roles but also for supporting parts, the locations are beautiful but seem perfectly natural for the story.

This was a fairly brave film to make in the 1980s, when public sentiment towards male homosexuality had turned negative again in the wake of the AIDs crisis.

So there are many things to commend. However, for me there are two glaring problems. And I cannot say whether these arise from the film or the original text. The first is that the relationship between Maurice and Scudder seems so unlikely. Not because it is between two men but because they are so incompatible in every way except lust. Scudder is portrayed as a nasty amoral little man, the very opposite of Maurice.

Secondly, although the film ends romantically with Maurice and Scudder holed up in the boathouse making love by firelight, a none too subtle contrast with the (presumed) unsatisfactory marriage of Durham and Anne, that totally avoid the questions which Duham has posed earlier in the film – how are two men in such a relationship to actually live together in that pre-WWI world, a world which has rejected them socially and legally? Maurice proclaims that he is an outlaw, and that is precisely what he is becoming; but the implications of that are never shown. The problems would be compounded by the social and mental incompatibility already mentioned. It's difficult to avoid comparisons with the ending of the same team's film of Forster's 'A Room With A View', where a couple also defy convention – but where the same societal problems will never arise in such an overwhelming way, especially as the male hero of that story is far less dependent anyway on society's approval for practical things like money. Maybe at the end of the day the difference is the point; but it would have been braver still to have confronted these issues head on.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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