The Inheritance (1997)
Synopsis From IMDB
At the lush Evenswood estate in Concord, Massachusetts, Edith Adelon, a beautiful orphan, lives as the paid companion to the daughter of the wealthy Hamilton family, although they regard her as one of their own. Years ago, Henry Hamilton saved Edith from an Italian orphanage at the request of his long-deceased brother. Now, Edith is his daughter Amy's prized friend and confidante. As the Hamiltons await a trio of visitors for the annual Greens Cup horse race, Beatrice Hamilton asks for Edith's help in finding a suitable husband for a cousin, Ida Glenshaw, with one of two visiting eligible bachelors. But when it becomes clear that both the young men have affection for Edith and not Ida, jealousy soon develops, leading to malicious conniving and brutal backstabbing. Despite the growing love between Edith and one of the young suitors, because of their conflicting social classes, the couple is reminded time and again that their love can never be. The Inheritance is a story that centers on an innocent young woman's struggle to make sense of her position within the Hamilton household and in society, and the love she feels for her patrons, as well as for a young man she can never marry.
The Inheritance was the first book written by Louisa May Alcott (author of Little Women) when she was still a teen. I have no idea how bad or good the book was, but the movie is your typical romance novel. Set in 1880s America, this movie is about a companion / glorified servant, Edith Adelon (Cari Shayne) who lives with a rich family and falls in mutual love with a rich, youngish man, James Percy (Thomas Gibson). Sub-plots and mild drama ensues. I am curious to know where the script begins and the books ends, because many of those lines are horrendous.
“Edith, you’ve proven to me that I can FEEL again.” (Real Quote)
The problem with this movie is that it’s a Hallmark film. It’s about as cookie-cutter as you would expect. The heroine is pretty, sweet, kind to everyone, and loves horses. In short, she’s not very interesting. The hero is equally not that interesting. He’s handsome, sweet, kind to everyone, and loves horses. They fall in love at first sight – literally, the first time their eyes meet over fallen fruit. Never mind the completely adorable and lovesick servant boy who is already in love with Edith. ** Choose the servant boy, Edith! Spoiler: She's not going to choose the servant boy over the Rich One
The music sounds like the guy they hired composed the soundtrack while chain-smoking and sitting at his keyboard, thinking “Okay, I’ll just make this as sweeping as possible.” Goal reached.
And Here We Go Again...
As always, there’s that other boy who is head-over-heels in love with this girl, and she’s completely oblivious. Yet, the viewer watches him for five seconds before knowing exactly what he's feeling. He stares at her while she plays the piano and he’s sitting right next to her. And he doesn’t bother to drop his stare when she glances over at him. She must be body language challenged.
And the other pairing (Edith and the Rich One / Percy)...
Percy to Edith when he sees her again after their first meeting: “Oh, it’s you!” The family all look the same amount of stunned, and the couple share an enamored gaze over the tea set. Because Edith is like the poor foster child and everyone already wants Rich One for their own.
I was completely rooting for the servant boy throughout the movie, and I don't know why I would have done that to myself. Obviously, the rich, handsome one is the more favorable option. But, still. Servant boy had first dibs.