Golden Bowl, The

Rated 4.0 A penniless Italian prince (Jeremy Northam) marries a wealthy American heiress (Kate Beckinsale), while his ex-lover (Uma Thurman) marries the heiress’ billionaire father (Nick Nolte); opportunities for deception and betrayal are rife, and few are overlooked. The Merchant-Ivory team (producer Ismail Merchant, director James Ivory and writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala) tackle Henry James’ dense, complex final novel and pull it off with decorous poise. The ornate English and Italian settings provide a stately frame for churning emotions—especially from Thurman, brittle and sharply neurotic as the willful Charlotte Stant, her best work to date. Nolte also excels in a subtle, ambiguous turn as a man who may know more than he lets on, and so does Anjelica Huston as a matron whose matchmaking goes awry.