We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
"Maurice" tells the story of a young English homosexual who falls in love with two completely different men, and in their differences is the whole message of the movie, a message I do not agree with. Yet because the film is so well made and acted, because it captures its period so meticulously, I enjoyed it even in disagreement.
This is the first film from the team of James Ivory and Ismail Merchant since "A Room with a View," and is based once again on a novel by E.M. Forster. Both books are about the gulf between idealistic romance and immediate physical passion, but otherwise they could not be more dissimilar. Maurice, which was written in 1914, was Forster's attempt to deal in fiction with his own homosexuality, and the novel was suppressed until after his death.
The story takes place in the years before World War I, when homosexuality was outlawed in Britain and being exposed meant disgrace and ruin. At Cambridge, two undergraduates become close friends, and then one day in a moment of risk, one tells the other that he loves him.
The man declaring his love is Clive (Hugh Grant), an aristocrat who can look forward to a lifetime of wealth, privilege and perhaps public office. The man he loves is Maurice (James Wilby), also well-born, who may go into the stock market. At first Maurice is shocked and repelled by what his friend says, but later that night he climbs in the window to give him a quick, passionate kiss and whisper "I love you."