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Movie Review: Gosford Park

Tuesday, May 09, 2006
My mother and I watched Robert Altman's 2001 film Gosford Park tonight. It was quite the enjoyable murder mystery, with a long cast of actors and a dazzling show of piecing together an intricate and tangled plot. In brief, in the 1930s a wide array of guests (people of old money, new money, and no money) show up at a country house with their servants for a hunting weekend. In the middle of a wretched weekend of friendly family back-stabbing, one person at the party is murdered - but no one as exactly a clean past. Who did it, and (almost more importantly) why?

My mother actually saw this movie in the theaters and realized on her second viewing that she'd missed a lot of what happened because the film moves very quickly and the actors (with the exception of Maggie Smith (apparently she was nominated for an academy award can be very difficult to understand. Most of the movie actually comes across as background chatter, which can be difficult to make out and even more difficult to place in context.

The film brilliantly shows the class divides between 1930s English aristocracy a their servants, as well as the struggles for perceived power and prestige among those ranks. Also well shown is the despicableness of the human nature, so selfish at times and unable to see beyond one's immediate wants (or needs). But, to spoil the ending JUST A LITTLE, the movie also shows how much a mother can love her child. 'Nuff said.

Final word on Gosford Park: Definitely worth a rental, but make sure you have subtitles and someone who's seen it before with you.

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