By William Wolf

THE GOVERNESS  Send This Review to a Friend

Minnie Driver, who won a best supporting actress Oscar nomination for "Good Will Hunting," graduates to the leading role in THE GOVERNESS as a young1840s Jewish woman in London who refuses to be bound by convention. After her father is killed during a robbery, she escapes an arranged marriage by changing her name from Rosina Da Silva to Mary Blackchurch to hide her Jewish identity and taking a job on a Scottish island as governess to a brat of a girl.

It's very clear that writer-director Sandra Goldbacher has a strong feminist viewpoint in characterizing her heroine. By whatever name Rosina is extremely aggressive for her time. More than just asserting herself, she is prepared to ride roughshod over the feelings and well-being of others. Charles (Tom Wilkinson), the husband and father in the household where she is employed, is bent on inventing a method for fixing photographic prints. Rosina becomes his assistant and finds the solution (later to be denied credit). Is there any doubt that another kind of chemistry will develop?

Rosina unabashedly seduces Charles, vulnerable because his moping wife (Harriet Walter) is perpetually bored, but he soon finds the situation more than he can or wants to handle. Enough plot? Not in Goldbacher's screenplay. Charles has a problem son (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who's panting after Rosina. There's too much angst by far and Rosina's exploits are more feminist than credible. But it is easy to see why Driver was driven to take this showy role. A Sony Pictures Classics release.


[Film] [Theater] [Cabaret] [About Town] [Wolf]
[Special Reports] [Travel] [HOME]