I just finished watching ITV’s new adaptation of E. M. Forster’s A Room with a View in PBS’s Masterpiece Classics. Here’s the trailer:
In the interest of full disclosure, let me start with a couple of confessions. First, E. M. Forster is one of my favorite writers. I haven’t reread his novels as recently as I have Jane Austen’s, but I’ve loved them for almost 20 years now. Second, the Merchant Ivory film adaptations of A Room with a View, Maurice, and Howards End are all among my favorite movies. I’ve loved each one ever since I saw them. In sum, I love E. M. Forster.
Given that love, I suppose I could predictably have had one of two reactions to this new adaptation — either I would dislike it for not living up to the novel or the earlier adaptation or I would love it despite any reservations about it not living up to the novel or the earlier adaptation. So, I’m a little surprised to report that I loved this version on its own terms.
ITV adaptations are (in)famous for always coming in under 90 minutes, which means that they cut the heck out of a novel in order to make this time limit. In this case, the cutting didn’t bother me as much as some of the excisions in the recent Jane Austen adaptations. Likewise, these productions tend to rewrite portions of the plot. I think these changes seem to be part of an effort to make them more appealing to modern audiences. Again, the changes in A Room with a View worked for me.