Maurice, a film produced by James IVORY in 1987, is part of the fascinating series of adaptations of E.M. Forster’s novels. This authentic gem is based on E.M. Forster’s posthumously published novel on hypocrisy and homosexual self-acceptance in the (puritan) Edwardian era in England.
Children fly their kites on the beach, accompanied by their teacher. The latter speaks to Maurice, a 10-year-old boy, about the mysteries (and the call) of the flesh. The teacher delivers a whole speech about the changes that the boy’s body will undergo and even goes into detail on what he calls ‘the act of reproduction’: “Your Membrum virilis will grow and increase in size”. He completes his lecture with a drawing in the sand. “This is what goes in the vagina, in the woman’s vulva.” We meet Maurice Hall whilst in Cambridge in 1910. The actor James Wilby lends an ambiguous mix of strong blond man and sweet tenderness to the character. He befriends a young aristocrat, Clive Durham, played enthusiastically by Hugh Grant. The film depicts a delicate love scene, Maurice softly caressing Clive’s face with his fingers, followed by a tender kiss, when they are suddenly interrupted by the uproar of the other students.
Maurice will eventually come to know love, almost by chance. But he will have to trust and accept the passion that goes beyond all social barriers.