Few film adaptations of literary works are as lush as the 1985 Merchant-Ivory production of E. M. Forster’s A ROOM WITH A VIEW. Faithful in most instances to the novel, this movie is rich in details that establish it in places and a time unfamiliar to most millennium students.
To maximize the benefits of watching this movie in class, students benefit from a guide that allows them to reflect on their knowledge of Forster’s novel and apply that knowledge to a particular film version. This guide asks students to compare the Merchant-Ivory film to Forster’s novel in three sections:
? a pre-viewing section that asks students to recall their study of the novel’s plot, characters, setting and theme(s) and to clarify their expectations for a filmed version;
? a viewing section in which students designate 22 events as occurring in the novel, the film or both;
? a post-viewing section in which students compare the plot of the film to that of the novel, evaluate the performances of the actors, determine theme(s) and otherwise assess the application of a visual medium to a work of literature.
Accompanying the student’s guide are:
? three pages of notes for teachers with suggestions for use of this flexible guide, and
? a teacher’s key.
FAIR WARNING: As with every film to be shown to students, a teacher preview is essential, but especially with this movie. As you may already know, this film contains a scene of male nudity. The teacher’s notes for the guide have suggestions for dealing with this while maintaining continuity in students’ viewing experience.
How students use this guide depends upon your instructional purpose and teaching style. You may want them to use it as a tool for discussion or persuasive writing, or simply as a graded written assignment so that you may assess their study recall. It’s up to you.
As your students utilize this guide to guide them through A ROOM WITH A VIEW, they will expand their critical thinking abilities by applying them to the medium of film, which they can then apply to their evaluations of other films, both for entertainment and educational purposes.