mauriceI begin my 30 days of gay at Reel Charlie with a classic LGBT film and my all-time favorite movie ever. There I said it. I used to call Maurice my favorite gay film ever. For awhile it was tied with Beautiful Thing. But last night I watched Maurice to finally review here on Reel Charlie. The first time I saw Maurice was in 1987 when it was released. I’ve since owned the VHS tape and the Criterion DVD which is now out of print. Last night made me realize this film has not only affected me deeply over the past 28 years, it has stood the test of time to become an integral part of the Merchant Ivory canon as well as the most beloved gay male film of all time. Adapted from E.M. Forster’s novel written in 1913 and published posthumously in 1971, Maurice tells the simple story of a middle-class Edwardian man falling in love with his upper class college friend, pining away for him several years later, having that love returned on a platonic level, than rejected, than meeting a working class man who risks everything and proves to him that love truly can conquer all. Forster based the characters of Maurice (pronounced: Morris) and Alec on his mentor Edward Carpenter and George Merrill who were partners in love and life during a time when men were being arrested and sent to prison for being gay. James Ivory adapted the novel with Kit Hesketh-Harvey into an achingly lush story of forbidden love between men in Edwardian England. The Merchant Ivory look had been established the year before with A Room With a View. Maurice molded that perfect look into a darker, more serious film yet still filled with gorgeous sets, costumes and location shooting. James Wilby, Hugh Grant, and Rupert Graves are perfect in their roles as Maurice, Clive, and Alec. I own on DVD what I refer to as the quartet of perfect films from Merchant-Ivory… A Room with a View, Howards End, Maurice, and The Remains of the Day. Three of the four are E.M. Forster adaptations. I have bounced around over the years between all four films naming each my favorite at one time or another. However watching Maurice in 2015 after a lifetime of seeing classic films, I have to say Maurice makes my heart sing. I still cannot get through the final scene between Maurice and Alec without weeping uncontrollably. Beginning in 1987 during the worse years of the AIDS crisis, Merchant Ivory paved the way showing us forever love between two men could have a very happy ending. Forster dedicated Maurice to “a happier year.” For me that time has come for many of us. And so I begin this month with the splendor of Maurice. 5 out of 5.

Watch the perfect final scene between Maurice and Alec where dreams come true and tears always flow:


3 Responses to “Maurice”

  1. kit hesketh harvey Says:

    Bless you. I’m really glad about the test of time thing. Hadn’t watched it for a few years, but Googled myself just now and this came up, and yes, I watched the last scene. And wept uncontrollably. The years since we wrote it have, I’ve realised, made it still more resonant to me. Thanks for championing it, and more power to your blogging elbow! Kit Hesketh Harvey


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