It's time for legislation decreeing that no one be allowed to make a screen adaptation of a novel of any quality whatsoever if Ismail Merchant, James Ivory and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala are available, and if they elect to do the job.
The performances feel honest, and are perfectly attuned to Ivory's sauntering directorial pace. No one is in a hurry to have any epiphanies or enjoy the release of emotional catharsis. I appreciated it.
James Ivory has cast Britain's acting aristocracy to play post-Revolution Russian aristocracy, which brings much gravitas and many subtle performance highs to this drawn out story set in 1936/7 Shanghai.