For a film that is 25 years old, Carrington stands up remarkably well. Excellent production values, literate with well-rounded characters pass the test of time. It’s just a pity the film itself isn’t just a little more exciting.
The exploration of the intimate yet platonic relationship between artist Dora Carrington (Emma Thompson – Saving Mr Banks, Sense & Sensibility) and Lytton Strachey (Jonathan Pryce – The Two Popes, Tomorrow Never Dies) is episodically explored in Christopher Hampton’s (The Secret Agent, Imagining Argentina) rare foray into directing. Carrington liked Strachey’s mind, whilst Lytton liked men.
Sadly, little is made of Carrington’s art or much of her character itself beyond the relationship with Strachey. She has affairs – and even marries Ralph Partridge (a rather clumsy, unconvincing Steven Waddington – The Imitation Game, Sleepy Hollow). But everything revolves against the effete and demanding writer (superbly portrayed by Pryce) and the secrecy of his prediliction (it is stuffy 1920s England, after all).
Carrington (never a success in her lifetime as an artist) and Strachey lived together for 16 years – and died only months apart. The film is a slow reveal as it unfolds, like a reticent Strachey, at its own pace a part of their story.