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The Forgotten Helena Bonham Carter Drama You Need To See On HBO Max

In the mood to be swept away by a sumptuous romantic period piece? HBO Max has you covered. "A Room with a View" is a 1985 film based on the novel of the same name by the 20th-century writer E. M. Forster. Not only was it directed, produced, and written by the celebrated filmmaking trio of James Ivory, Ismail Merchant, and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, but it also has a star-studded cast that includes Helena Bonham Carter (before she was putting her stamp on "Enola Holmes") and Daniel Day-Lewis in some of their earliest film roles.

"A Room with a View" begins in Florence, Italy in the early 20th century and follows a wealthy young English woman named Lucy Honeychurch (Bonham Carter), who is vacationing with her older cousin, Charlotte Bartlett (Maggie Smith). Their trip ends up including much more than just some sightseeing tours. After several encounters with the beguiling George Emerson (Julian Sands), Lucy finds herself unable to keep him out of her thoughts, despite the protests of Charlotte. The attraction continues even after she returns to her normal life in England and gets engaged to the proper, but stifling, Cecil Vyse (Day-Lewis). When George re-enters the picture, Lucy must square the passion she feels for him with the expectations put on her by the restrictive society she lives in.

Although it isn't talked about as often as other classics from the 1980s, the film was a critical darling when it was released and was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning three, including for Best Adapted Screenplay. And lest you think that it's a stuffy costume drama that bores more than it excites, the movie's reputation as a sensual treat has endured through the decades.

Why A Room with a View is worth rediscovering

From the film's enticing European settings to the simmering romance at its center, critics have been praising the way "A Room with a View" handles its subject matter and tone since the movie was first released. In a 1986 New York Times review, Vincent Canby wrote, "'A Room With a View' is like a holiday out of time. It's a journey into another dimension as it travels from the dangerously seductive settings of Florence ... to the more serene landscapes of England, where undeclared wars are fought over tea cups."

In his appraisal, Roger Ebert commended the film's unique approach to the themes at its core, writing, "Usually, thought and passion are on opposite sides in the movies; this time it's entertaining to find them on the same side." As for the movie's deliberate pacing, he said, "The story moved slowly, it seemed, for the same reason you try to make ice cream last: because it's so good."

Despite flying a bit under-the-radar in recent years, time hasn't eroded the film's charms. In a 2010 ranking of "The 25 best romantic films of all time," The Guardian listed "A Room with a View" in ninth place. In a write-up, Catherine Shoard said of the movie, "This is incredibly fresh and arresting film-making: moving and amusing, swooningly romantic and socially ferocious – nothing less than a full-frontal (in every way) assault on your soul."

You can rediscover this classic for yourself on HBO Max.