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Facts and Figures

Run time: 121 mins

In Theaters: Friday 10th November 1995

Distributed by: MGM Home Entertainment

Production compaines: Cinéa, Polygram Filmed Entertainment, Freeway Films

Reviews 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 50%
Fresh: 10 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: Emma Thompson as Dora Carrington, Jonathan Pryce as Lytton Strachey, Penelope Wilton as Lady Ottoline Morrell, Janet McTeer as Vanessa Bell, Samuel West as Gerald Brenan

Carrington Movie Review

I hate to stereotype...but I will anyway. I simply find it inconceivable that a real woman could go for 17 years without once changing her hair. The woman in question is Emma Thompson, portraying English painter Dora Carrington in post-WWI England. The hairdo in question is a peculiar blonde bob that has the daunting task of making Thompson look "boyish."

If you're like me, you're saying to yourself, "Who is this Dora Carrington, and why would someone make a movie about her?" Well, I still don't have the answer to that one. Carrington was something of a homebody who thrived on shocking Victorian sensibilities with her outrageous behavior, the bulk of which involved sexual promiscuity in some fashion or another. Most notable among her odd and largely meaningless "flings" was a doomed-from-the-start relationship with troublesome writer Lytton Strachey (Jonathan Pryce), a bearded, neo-Oscar Wilde who couldn't function normally without substantial babysitting from Carrington and/or any number of her lovers.

Together, Carrington and Lytton meander through 17 years of love and hate, happiness and anger, life and death. With its promising start, Carrington begins by introducing the real star of the film, Lytton, but shortly thereafter, the movie bogs down in irrelevant, plodding details about Carrington's life and love interests. Soon, I was wondering what the point was to all of this, and I never did find out, as the only remotely empathetic character was Lytton.

Jonathan Pryce, who won Best Actor at Cannes, is deserving of all the praise he's received. He manages to bring Lytton alive so well that when he's not on the screen, the film completely stalls out. In fact, the movie is based on a book entitled "Lytton Strachey." Why screenwriter/director Christopher Hampton (who recently bombed with Total Eclipse) felt Dora Carrington was a more interesting person is beyond me.

Other than Pryce, the raucous comedy at the film's opening, and a great score by Michael Nyman (The Piano), there's not much to redeem this picture. Incidentally, this script was written in 1976, and only now has it been produced. It isn't hard to see why it took so long.


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Moviebuffer's picture


It's obvious the reviewer hasn't taken the time to find out about Dora Carrington nor her prominance as a painter today. He also ought to read something (and there are many books) about Carrington, Strachey and their relationship as well as art books published about Carrington's work. One of the well known facts about Carrington was that she never exhibited her paintings and thus remained obscure; this is why her story needs to be told. She is recognized now as a extremely good artist who was possibly held back by her attachment to Strachey. The film isn't completely accurate about their real-life relationship; there were for example long periods when they did not live together. Their lifestyle was quite typical of the Bloomsbury group. As for her hair (a facetious set of comments by the reviewer) Carrington did in fact wear her hair in the same style all her life. It suited her and, I would say, it suited Emma Thompson pretty well too. The apparent ignorance of this reviewer is apparent.

7 years 2 months ago
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Carrington Rating

" Weak "


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