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Born Lucky Studios

a boutique video production and post-production studio

House of Mirth

Speaking of forgotten films. House of Mirth is the bizarro Pride and Prejudice, everything does not work out for our heroine, the love interest stays unattainable and prick-ish. The film leaves us a bitter taste – one part frustration, one part anger.

That a film like this comes from what would seem to be a stuffy and antiseptic environment (19th Century New York) is somewhat shocking. Not shocked that life was hard for women, but that it could be presented in such a aggressive fashion. (Aggression being a virus of sorts for those who fear change.) The film seems to say, ‘Life back then was shitty. So lets not pretend, okay?’

So let’s not pretend that Miss Lily Bart, having made some seemingly minor mistakes and miscalculations, should ever have the benefit of a comfortable life. Or that she should be able to rise up to the station a woman of her character deserves. Let’s except this fact for the purpose of showing and demanding that we feel sympathy for her (up to a point), and then feel anger that the people act this way.

Lily’s ultimate downfall is that she has too much pride to except handouts from those who can help her. But who can blame her, after discovering that friends can destroy you. But I feel we’re not meant to feel to bad for her, but that we should hold back our tears and fight against having this tragedy be an option.

The film is anti-establishment in a very refreshing manor. Gillian Anderson is wonderful as Lily Bart. Laura Linney has a great turn as a malicious friend to her. And Dan Aykroyd, Terry Kinney, Eric Stoltz and Anthony LaPaglia are the men in Lily Bart’s disastrous life.

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