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A Room With a View

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Image credit: A Room With a View, 1985

Spring has sprung, my orchid is blooming, and you know what that means—it’s time to watch a gorgeous movie about travel. I get the itch to watch beautiful people gallivant through Europe around the same time every year, and while this normally takes the form of yet another Talented Mr. Ripley viewing, this week I decided to abandon Mongibello to venture up the coast and inland to Firenze. A Room With a View (Disc/Download) is a Merchant Ivory masterpiece that will have you longing for sun-soaked days staring at the Duomo and passionate kisses among the flowers.

Like Helena Bonham Carter as Lucy Honeychurch, I was nineteen the summer I lived in Florence, Italy. I still remember laying on my lumpy twin bed in a tiny, rented flat, reading E.M. Forster’s classic novel, swatting mosquitos and waiting for my George to appear. My view was not of the Arno, but of terracotta rooftops and other peoples’ laundry. Still, at the time it felt romantic.  The thing I loved about the book then, and still love about the movie now, is how it portrays the emotions of frustration, desire, and indecision. Lucy wants to rebel against the life prescribed for her, but she doesn’t have the faintest idea how to do that, or what she wants as an alternative. Then somebody comes along to shake things up, providing the catalyst for the fire inside her. I love angsty stories about women in their late-teens/early-twenties because it’s such a fraught but important time. This is when the big decisions get made, when the forks in the road appear. I love the direction this story eventually takes because although Lucy does choose one of her suitors, she chooses herself first. Isn’t that how every great love story should begin?

If you’re looking for a cinema vacation, this film provides a perfect one. From crowded Florentine squares, to the rolling hills of Fiesole, to the bucolic villages of England, this whole movie is a sun-dappled work of art. However, my favorite scenes are the ones set in Florence, which is why I’m pouring a refreshing spritz cocktail, perfect for sipping on a balcony of the Pensione Bertolini. While watching A Room With a View, I recommend drinking this Elderflower Spritz.

Elderflower Spritz

½ oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

Fresh Mint

4 oz Prosecco

2 oz Club Soda

Muddle mint with St. Germain in the bottom of a glass. Let it sit for a few minutes, then add ice. Top with Prosecco and club soda, stirring gently to combine.

Speaking of elder, Maggie Smith does a terrific job in this as Lucy’s spinster-cousin and chaperone Charlotte, and I adore Judi Dench as the saucy romance novelist they meet in Italy. A Room With a View is a movie world to get lost in, and that feels pretty good right now. Summer, and all its adventures, will be here before we know it. Cheers!