Film Studies (CMC), Literature (CMC)
Catharsis, said Aristotle, is the goal of drama. You'd never know it from The House of Mirth, an adaptation of Edit Wharton's 1905 novel by the great British filmmaker Terence Davies. Its intensity is distilled in its uncompromising restraint, and though there are passing moments of anger in the film, and rare, sudden swellings of grief, there's not a second of real release in this grim anatomy of a socialite's inexorable decline. Yet the film's relentlessness does not feel cruel. It feels like the piercing expression of a boundless pity.
© 2001 The Regents of the University of California
Morrison, James. Rev. of The House of Mirth, dir. Terence Davies. Film Quarterly 55.1 (Fall 2001): 49-51.