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Washington Square

Washington Square

Washington Square is a 1997 American romantic drama film directed by Agnieszka Holland and starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Albert Finney, Ben Chaplin, Maggie Smith, and Judith Ivey. The screenplay by Carol Doyle is based on the 1880 novel of the same name by Henry James, which was filmed as The Heiress in 1949. The film was a critical success but a commercial failure.

Plot

A prologue introduces us to Dr. Austin Sloper (Albert Finney), a New York City doctor and resident of a large house on Washington Square whose wife dies in childbirth, leaving a daughter, Catherine (Jennifer Jason Leigh), to be raised by her father. As a child, Catherine is overweight, clumsy, and untalented; however, she is also a sweet, affectionate child. She adores her father and tries hard to please him, but he considers her a disappointment and treats her with ironic condescension. His thoughts are still much occupied with his beloved wife and with a promising son who died before Catherine was born, and he privately but bitterly resents his only surviving child for causing his wife's death.