ABOVE: Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) embrace in a violet-filled meadow in "Eclipse."
BELOW: George Emerson (Julian Sands) kisses Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) in a hilly Tuscan field of violets in "A Room With A View" (Merchant Ivory Productions).
It’s 1908. Lucy Honeychurch is a spirited,well-bred English girl, about nineteen or twenty years old and engaged to be married (though not in love). Traveling in Italy (chaperoned, of course), she encounters an unconventional young Englishman, George Emerson, who ardently kisses her amid a breathtakingly beautiful field of violets in the golden Tuscan countryside. The idyllic kiss only lasts a moment; however, a moment is all it takes to change Lucy's perceptions and, eventually, the course of her life.
E.M. Forster’s novella, A Room With A View, is lighthearted yet poignantly romantic. Merchant Ivory’s sparkling 1985 adaptation translated it into visual splendor.Twenty five years later, Stephenie Meyer’s broodingly cheek-boned vampiric hero, Edward Cullen, and his modest eighteen-year-old paramour, Bella Swan, frolic in another violet-strewn meadow atop the dismal town of Forks in the film, Eclipse. It’s a shimmering patch of romantic lilac beauty amid dank, dark Washingtonian forests.
A great deal may have changed since 1908, but much remains the same. Both Lucy and Bella, coming of age, have entered forbidden territory in their respective romances. In Edwardian society, snobbery among the social classes meant that the working-class George Emerson was as ineligible as, well, a vampire. And that's what makes forbidden (or ineligible) love so endearing.