Synopsis: The story of the relationship between painter Dora Carrington and author Lytton Strachey in a World War One England of cottages and countryside. Although platonic due to Strachey's homosexuality, the relationship was nevertheless a deep and complicated one. When Carrington did develop a more physical relationship with soldier Ralph Partridge, Strachey was able to welcome him as a friend, although Partridge remained somewhat uneasy, not so much with Strachey's sexual orientation as with the fact that he was a conscientious objector.
Director(s): Christopher Hampton
Production: MGM Home Entertainment
  Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 7 wins & 7 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
121 min


(train whistle)

- Hello.

- Sir.

Taxi or a fly, sir?

I don't think we ought to make

too hasty a decision. Do you?

I believe I'll take...

that one.


- I'm dropping.

- The kettle's on.

- Ah!

- Clive.

We're fending for ourselves.

The servants are off till Monday.

- Oh, dear.

- We've put you in the front bedroom.

- There's a fire in the sitting room.

- Jolly good.

- I'll get you a cup of tea.

- Oh, please.


- I've brought you my ration cards.

- Thanks.



Who on earth is that ravishing boy?

I take it you're not referring

to either of my sons.




Good God.

- Someone I want you to meet.

- Coming.

This is Lytton Strachey.


I'll fetch the tea.

- So, you're Carrington.

- Yes.

Mark Gertler's friend.

Well, I know him.


(door closes)

(Lytton) They'll be bringing in

conscription in a matter of weeks.

We'll all be dragged in front

of some appalling tribunal.

You'll have to be conscientious objectors.

I'd rather go to prison, or down the mines.

It'd be warmer. You'd meet

a much nicer class of person, I'm sure.

(Clive) Ottoline says she'll be able to help.

(Lytton) There must be compensation

for having friends in high places.

(Carrington) Don't you like Ottoline?

I'm devoted to Ottoline.

She's like the Eiffel Tower: she's very

silly, but she affords excellent views.

Will knitting scarves for the troops

be classified as essential war work?

I'm so busy nowadays.

I've been learning German as well.

- It's a most disagreeable language.

- (Carrington) Then why learn it?

Well, my dear, I mean,

suppose they win.

- (champagne cork pops)

- Oh!

Ye gods.

Can you imagine what

the war must be like?

(Lytton) As Nessa and Clive are both

having affairs with cousins of mine,

I can't help thinking theirs is

a peculiarly civilised marriage.

Do you really like to be called Carrington?

- Yes.

- Why?

My first name is Dora.

Ah. I see.

(faint rumble)

- Can you hear them?

- What?

The guns.

Oh, yes.

I have three brothers over there.

I can't tell you how angry

it makes me feel.

I'd have joined up if I'd been a man.

- You don't believe...?

- No, I don't believe in it.

But I'd still have joined up.

I wish I'd been born a boy.

You have such lovely ears.

Don't! Stop it!

Would you mind not?!


Have you brought my breakfast?

No, I haven't.

I was going to cut your beard off.

- Why?

- To punish you.

Oh, I see.

Do you still want to punish me?

No. No.

I don't.

GERTLER 1916-1918

That's enough. That's enough.

- Why?

- I'll have to go soon anyway.

Why don't you stay the night?

- Let's not go through all this again.

- I'm only asking.

It makes me think

you're only interested in me sexually.

Oh, God! You make me so angry!

Of course I'm interested in you sexually!

It doesn't mean I'm only interested

in you sexually. I can get it anywhere.

I'm interested in you, in your opinions.

What you think of me.

So naturally I'm interested in you sexually

too. I did ask you to marry me.

- I know, Mark, but...

- I'd understand if you thought I was ugly.

- You'd not like me, and you say you do.

- Of course I do.

Well, then.

It's you I like, not your body.

Except I am my body.

Good night.

You can't expect

to stay a virgin all your life.

What's the matter?

I was just thinking... about

that disgusting old man with the beard.

Well, I really shouldn't

brood about it, if I were you.

After all, he is a bugger.

- What?

- Lytton.

He's a bugger.

- I never know what that means.

- He's a homosexual.

(usher) Call Mr Strachey.

Giles Lytton Strachey.

- Mr Strachey?

- No. Phillip Morrell.

- MP for Burnley.

- Ah. I, erm...

I believe Mr Strachey

is marshalling his documents.

Mr Strachey.

One moment.

I'm a martyr to the piles.

You're a writer by profession.

Is that correct?

It is. I am.

Now, according to this report

from the advisory committee,

you've made a statement to the effect

that you have a conscientious objection

to taking part in the war.

- Did you make such a statement?

- Yes. Yes.

- Mr Strachey.

- Yes?

Are we to understand that you have

a conscientious objection to all wars?

Oh, no, no. Not at all. Only this one.

Then would you care to tell us

what you would do

if you saw a German soldier

raping your sister?

I believe I should attempt

to come between them.


I will not assist, by any deliberate

action of mine, in carrying on this war.

My objection is based not upon religious

belief, but upon moral considerations.

And I'll not act against those convictions

whatever the consequences may be.

Well, after all that, the prospect

of jail seems positively soothing.

They'll never send you to jail. Too many

of them went to school with you.

I only hope you're right.

Any luck with the famous

Carrington conundrum?

It's only ignorance. Fear and ignorance.

It has been going on for four years.

I'm at my wits' end.

Well, it's no use asking my opinion.

When it comes to a creature with a c*nt,

I'm always infinitely desoriente.

All the same I've decided,

if anyone can help me, you can.

I? How?

Well, I don't know exactly.

I just mean if you'd just...

be with her a little.

A man like you - she has no older friends,

you see - she's bound to learn.

Keats's letters, of course, are

very poignant on the subject of virginity.

Rate this script:4.0 / 1 vote

Christopher Hampton

Christopher James Hampton, CBE, FRSL (born 26 January 1946) is a British playwright, screenwriter, translator and film director. He is best known for his play based on the novel Les Liaisons dangereuses and the film version Dangerous Liaisons (1988) and also more recently for writing the nominated screenplay for the film adaptation of Ian McEwan's Atonement. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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