Golden Bowl, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -1

Rich -- rich in photography, costumes, musical score, and character development -- describes THE GOLDEN BOWL. Based on a Henry James novel adapted for the screen, this Merchant Ivory production weaves a tale of romance, deceit and betrayal. It's the early 1900s and widower Adam Verver (Nick Nolte), America's first billionaire, has established palatial estates in England and France. Adam's constant companion and hostess is his much beloved daughter, Maggie (Kate Beckinsale), engaged to a penniless but charming Italian prince, Amerigo (Jeremy Northan). Maggie feels torn between concern for her father and her love for Amerigo until her best friend, Charlotte (Uma Thurman), comes from America to visit. It seems so fitting for the beautiful, clever Charlotte, who has no money or family, to marry Adam. A lovely, but flawed, gold and crystal bowl, meant to be a gift of love, holds the secret of past relationships. Its flaws symbolize flaws in the marriages of Maggie and Adam, who learn their respective spouses have been romantically entangled for years. Although too slow for the young and the restless, THE GOLDEN BOWL makes a beautiful entertainment gift for mature audiences.

As the film opens, the prince describes the cruel consequences of his ancestors' infidelity. The adulterous lovers, shown in a flashback, are dragged from their bed and shadows on a dungeon wall indicate both are beheaded. That scene sets the tone for infidelities to come and the violence is neither gory nor gratuitous. Adam has worked hard to establish himself in English society and will not have his status disgraced by scandal, and a former, seemingly helpless, dependent Maggie matures into a woman determined to save her marriage. Charlotte suffers for her aggressive pursuit of Amerigo, apparently the morally weakest of the four. The MPAA has rated the film R for one fairly graphic sex scene between Charlotte and Amerigo. Since the story removes any doubt that the two are lovers, seeing the two behind closed doors adds nothing. Without the sex scene, THE GOLDEN BOWL could be recommended for mature audiences.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Lions Gate Films, 4553 Glencoe Ave., Ste 200, Marina del Rey, CA 90292

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: None

Violence: Moderate (adulterous couple dragged from bed, beheading implied by shadows)

Sex: Once (unmarried couple - graphic scene without nudity)

Nudity: Near Nudity - Several times (women in low-cut gowns)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several times (flirtatious behavior at parties; woman aggressively pursues lover; passionate embraces)

Drugs: Few times (social drinking)

Other: Theme of adultery treated negatively; deceit and betrayal not rewarded; woman fights to save marriage

Running Time: 127 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.