Best Movies by Farr

Gosford Park

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What's it About

In 1930s England, Sir William McCordle (Gambon) and his much younger wife (Thomas) host a weekend hunting party for an assortment of friends accompanied by their servants. Their country manor is briskly maintained by a staff headed by housekeeper Mrs. Wilson (Mirren), butler Jennings (Bates), and valet Probert (Jacobi). McCordle is a ruthless industrialist who threatens to cut off his haughty sister, the Countess of Trentham (Smith) and others seeking financial support. But no one in the house, master or servant, is immune to jealousy, gossip, or misbehavior. When McCordle is found murdered in the study, both the wealthy and working class fall under suspicion, leading to the revelation of long-buried, shocking secrets.

Why we love it

In lesser hands, this atmospheric period drama would likely measure up as a diverting whodunit in the Agatha Christie mold, but the Fellowes brothers'’ biting, Oscar-winning script and Altman’'s proven skill at ensemble work help elevate it. As we observe all the subplots and intrigues — —upstairs and down— — we are treated not only to a juicy mystery but also a dead-on satire of the British class system. Considered by many to be Altman’'s finest late-career effort, “"Park"” received an impressive seven Oscar nods, including best picture, director, and actress (for both the devilishly funny Smith and the restrained Mirren). By turn witty and melancholy  but absorbing throughout, this “"Park"” is certainly worth a visit.

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BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"