Film Pick: ‘A Room with a View’
In one of the most romantic films of recent years, a young and British Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) travels to Florence, Italy with her prudish chaperone (Maggie Smith) in order to experience a more vibrant way of life. When she arrives she is dismayed to discover that her hotel room doesn’t have a view but, when fellow travelers offer to switch their rooms for hers, Lucy embarks on a series of adventures that lead to a passionate interlude with a near stranger (Julian Sands). This film is almost a love letter to Italy from the way the director James Ivory captures its fields, its squares and its crooked streets. Featuring wonderful performances by Carter, Smith and a very young Daniel Day Lewis (who plays a condescending, yet sympathetic suitor for Lucy), “A Room with A View” is largely a character-driven film. “A Room with a View” is funny and witty in its portrayal of a young woman who must choose between a sensible life and a passionate one. While it’s snowing, watch this film with a mug of hot cocoa and lose yourself in Italy.
Book Pick: ‘The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay’
If you like completely immersing yourself in a specific time and milieu, then pick up Michael Chabon’s “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,” set in the early days of the comic industry in the early 1940s. Comic book enthusiast Sam Clay hopes to break into the comic book industry when his cousin, artist Joe Kavalier, arrives in New York City after having fled Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. The two join their creative forces—Sam in order to find fame, Joe in the hopes of making enough money to rescue his family—and quickly become the darlings of the comic world. Along the way, a world war and an intelligent, beautiful young woman almost tear their partnership asunder. Chabon so vividly draws his characters that you can’t help but wish that the novel would go on infinitely. And, if great characterizations and a twisting plot aren’t enough for you, you’ll certainly learn a great deal about the comic book industry. What more could you want?