Carrington Information

Carrington is a 1995 British biographical film written and directed by Christopher Hampton about the life of the English painter Dora Carrington (1893"1932), who was known simply as "Carrington". The screenplay is based on biographies of writer and critic Lytton Strachey (1880"1932) by Michael Holroyd.


The film, starring Emma Thompson in the title role, focuses on her unusual relationship with the author Lytton Strachey, played by Jonathan Pryce, as well as with other members of the Bloomsbury Group.

The film is divided into 6 chapters.

  1. Lytton & Carrington 1915: During the Great War, Lytton Strachey is travelling to the country and staying at Vanessa Bell's house. There he meets Carrington for the first time but confuses her with a boy and does not hide his disappointment. Lytton is due to face a hearing with the military due to his open opposition to the war. While taking a hike through the countryside, he tries to kiss Carrington but she refuses him. Early in the morning, she walks into his bedroom with the intent of cutting his beard off, but stops at the last minute in contemplation of him sleeping and falls in love with him.
  2. Gertler 1916"1918: Mark Gertler tries to have sex with Carrington, but she refuses, since she thinks that he is only interested in her sexually. Gertler turns to Lytton for aid in wooing her, while trying to help him she falls more deeply in love with him and although he does not fully requite her, he does have feelings for her. While on a trip to Wales he proposes that they live together, acting on this, Carrington searches for a house and finds and refurbishes Mill House in Tidmarsh. When Gertler finds out that Carrington and Lytton are moving in together he attacks the couple.
  3. Partridge 1918"1921: Carrington later meets and falls in love with Ralph Partdrige, who has come back from the war. On their first dinner together, Ralph expresses his rather one-sided point of views which are contrary to Lytton's, nevertheless the rugged man appeals to him. Lytton goes on vacation to Italy, Ralph has made very clear his intent of marrying Carrington or leaving altogether to Bolivia to run a sheep farm. Knowing that if Ralph is no longer with him, Lytton will move out of Mill House, she marries Ralph and in their honeymoon they meet with Lytton in Venice. Ralph introduces his friend Gerald Brenan to Lytton and Carrington. Brenan is planning to leave for Spain in order to improve his education and takes a liking to Carrington, which is mutual. Lytton is successful in the publication of Eminent Victorians and manages to become a man of means. The war ends.
  4. Brenan 1921"1923: Although he tries to be loyal to his friend Ralph, Gerald and Carrington carry on an affair and have to skulk about to avoid being caught. Gerald leaves for Spain insisting that Carrington run off with him. She refuses but they continue the relationship until they get caught by Ralph, Lytton manages to avoid the break-up and secretly aids the couple to continue their affair until it ends by itself.
  5. Ham Spray House 1924"1931: Lytton buys Ham Spray and Carrington, he and Ralph move in. Ralph now is in a relationship with Frances Marshall and Lytton is in a relationship with Roger, a younger man from Oxford, while Carrington is carrying on an affair with Beacus, a strapping seaman who has little to say and keeps trying to change Carrington to fit his fantasies but later admits that he is not attracted to her sexually. Carrington becomes pregnant by Beacus but has an abortion. Lytton takes an apartment in London where he intends to live with Roger, but it becomes clear that the relationship shall not be long-lived.
  6. Lytton 1931"1932: Roger and Lytton break up. During a tea party Lytton suddenly becomes ill; Carrington initially is optimistic but afterwards it becomes evident that he will not recover. Carrington tries to commit suicide by locking herself in the garage with the car motor running but is rescued by Ralph. When Lytton finally dies, surrounded by Ralph, Carrington and Gerald, he states "If this is dying, I do not think very much of it." Carrington is utterly depressed but manages to keep her spirits up and convinces Ralph that she needs to be alone, once they have left, she burns all of Lytton's personal possessions and takes a gun and finally manages to kill herself.



The score of the film was composed by Michael Nyman. It was primarily based upon his String Quartet No.3, with which Hampton created a temp track, and wanted as a leitmotif for Lytton Strachey. The score is also based on Schubert's String Quintet in C, D. 956, whose Adagio is played during a scene in the film. However, there is also newly-composed material for the film, including "Virgin on the roof," which was incorporated into the String Quartet No. 4, and the theme for Mark Gertler, which is derived from 3 Quartets, which was composed at roughly the same time.

  1. "Outside Looking In" - 9:14
  2. "Opening Titles" - 1:21
  3. "Fly Drive" - 1:40
  4. "Cliffs of Fall" - 2:00
  5. "Every Curl of your Beard" - 2:24
  6. "Virgin on the Roof" - 1:40
  7. "Gertler" - 3:15
  8. "Leaving Gertler" - 1:27
  9. "Painting the Garden of Eden" - 1:59
  10. "Partridge" - 1:54
  11. "Floating the Honeymoon" - 2:45
  12. "Brenan" - 6:53
  13. "Beacus" - 2:58
  14. "Leaving Brenan" - 1:59
  15. "Ham Spray House" - 1:39
  16. "The Infinite Complexities of Christmas" - 4:18
  17. "Something Rather Impulsive" - 1:48
  18. "If This is Dying" - 1:46
  19. Franz Schubert: String Quintet In C: Adagio " Amadeus Quartet/Robert Cohen (1987 recording-Polydor/Deutsche Grammophon) - 15:11


1995 Cannes Film Festival
1995 National Board of Review
1996 Evening Standard British Film Awards

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