It’s a difficult trick to pull off, not least within the confines of the conventional ‘quality’ drama, and if the film is partially successful, it is in no small measure due to overall good performances. Dustin Hoffman’s producer Charles Frohman, Julie Christie as Sylvia’s frosty mother and the young Freddie Highmore as the sensitive Peter Davies deserve mention alongside an unhistrionic Winslet as terminally ill Sylvia and Depp’s beautifully judged innocent. Forster’s feel for Edwardian London, with its echoes of ‘Topsy-Turvy’-esque theatreland, can tend to the derivative, but he handles well, notably in the garden play scenes and the effect-generated fusion of fantasy and reality. But the whole is infused by an awkward decorum; the kind that descends on a gathering dominated by an unmentioned death or transgression.
Cast and crew