UK Dir. Sally Potter
Vanessa Redgrave, Lena Headey, Natasha McElhone, Charlotte Coleman
A film version of Virginia Woolf’s classic novel Mrs. Dalloway which is remarkably faithful to the original text and beautifully acted.
There are three main storylines for the viewer to follow:
• Mrs Dalloway (as an older adult) preparing for a party, set in the lushness of the 20/30’s.
• The shell shocked young man who has returned from war and is wholly unable to cope, set within the harsher realities of the 20/30’s.
• The past of Clarissa Dalloway and Sally Seton as young women, set in a more idyllic time.
This film isn’t lesbian per se but the original was written by Woolf. Sally Potter is said to have expounded upon the relationship of the young Clarissa/Sally. Which is all perfectly believable, though NMcE is somewhat of a wooden actress and therefore not very inspiring.
The whole film is set within one day for the elder Clarissa who is preparing for a party to be held that evening. Whilst it is an interesting character study, in truth the stories of the younger Clarissa and that of the young man returned from war are far more interesting. The young man especially, for it is thought that shell shock wasn’t really known about, so this man was poorly treated and left to feel as if he were going somewhat mad.
The lesbian element of the film is very small, though no less interesting for that.
Overall the film is slow and period drama-esque.