Maurice Hall (James Wilby) is a man in a Victorian-era love story that discovers romance with his classmate Clive Durham (Hugh Grant) while attending Cambridge in the early 1900’s. Durham begins the romantic overtures, which are initially rebuffed by Maurice, but slowly accepted. Their relationship continues for some years, although is kept secret due to Durham’s high social standing. Their mutual friend Lord Risley is arrested sometime later for soliciting sex from a soldier, and Maurice and Durham are concerned that the nature of their relationship will be exposed. Durham breaks it off and settles down with a simple young English girl, leaving Maurice to his own devices.
As he searches for answers and a potential “cure” to his feelings, Maurice comes into contact with Alex Scudder (Rupert Graves), who is set for immigrating to Argentina with his family soon. Scudder shows obvious interest in Maurice and learns of his past involvement with Durham. What Maurice originally suspects is a form of blackmail he later finds to be true affection, and after a surprising turn of events finds Scudder having decided to stay behind to be with Maurice, the two begin a loving relationship.
“To director James Ivory’s credit, however, he has recreated that period in pre-World War I England and endowed the platonic passion between two upper-class Englishmen with singular grace in Maurice.”
— Judy Stone, San Francisco Chronicle
“Mr. Ivory and Ismail Merchant have long since learned to breathe life into their material without excessive reverence, in a manner that is as decorous as it is dramatic. As might be expected, the costumes, settings and cinematography are once again ravishing.”
— Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“The team of producer Ismail Merchant and director James Ivory has created another classy film of a classic novel with their stunning adaptation of E.M. Forster‘s Maurice.”
— Michael Blowen, Boston Globe
Did You Know?
Interestingly, receiving the permission of Cambridge to film on-location for Maurice was difficult, not because of the subject matter of the story, but because the novel from which the screenplay was based off of was considered an inferior work of art. Nevertheless, the university finally consented. The movie opened to almost universal acclaim. Review our Gay Themed Films here