My House in Umbria

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My House in Umbria ★★★ 2003

Quality HBO production adapted from the novella by William Trevor. Romance writer Emily Delahunty (Smith) is aboard a Milan-bound train when her peace is shattered by a bomb. Emily invites the other survivors from her train car to recuperate at her house in Umbria, including young American Aimee (Clarke), whose parents were killed in the explosion. Aimee begins to lean on Emily (who loves having a ready-made family) and then the snake appears in their Garden of Eden; Aimee's frosty Uncle Thomas (Cooper) has come to pick up his unknown niece. Emily's voiceover ramblings are sometimes distracting but Smith finds the pathos in her character without going overboard. The versatile Cooper also offers excellent support in an unsympathetic role. And, naturally, the scenes at the villa, shot on the Tuscany-Umbria border, are entrancing. 103m/C VHS, DVD . Maggie Smith, Chris Cooper, Timothy Spall, Emmy Clarke, Benno Furmann, Ronnie Barker, Giancarlo Giannini, Libero De Rienzo; D: Richard Loncraine; W: Hugh Whitemore; C: Marco Pontecorvo; M: Claudio Capponi. CABLE