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The House of Mirth

             In the 1900's, women were faced with many obstacles to overcome. From the outside, it seemed that women had the easy life. All they were expected to do was to marry, cook, clean, bear and raise children, etc. However, before and after marriage, they were faced with many difficult decisions. One of the most important decisions was who to marry. Society expected that women would marry for money because that would be the only way that they would be able to live an upper class life since it was not socially accepted for women to work. The greatest aspect of Terence Davies' "The House of Mirth" is that it's such a downer. The movie tells the story of a young lady by the name of Lily Bart (Gillian Anderson), a self-constructed woman on the lookout for a husband in New York's social circles. Her way of life, which has been purchased mostly on credit, demands money in order to be maintained, and her credit is running out. Since Lily has no fortune of her own, Lily has to find a Husband. The men in her social circles adore her; however, she is in love with only one man. But as fate would have it, Lawrence Selden's (Eric Stoltz) financial social status is not what Lily desires, just his heart. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "Edith Wharton's 1905 novel was more than an exquisite chronicle of upper-echelon etiquette. It was, at its most forceful, parodic and vividly damning, an American tragedy. Davies ("Distant Voices, Still Lives," "The Neon Bible"), here at his least florid and most unaffected, fashions an adaptation with an equal measure of damnation." The Washington Post states, "Like a corkscrew slowly, inexorably penetrating a bottle of spoiled wine, filmmaker Terence Davies's brilliant, astringent version of Edith Wharton's "The House of Mirth" painstakingly worms its way downward into turn-of-the-century New York society, only to reveal the sour liquor that flows through the hearts of his monied, well-dressed subjects.

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