Terence Davies (DISTANT VOICES, STILL LIVES) triumphs with his sumptuous, painterly adaptation of Edith Wharton’s novel, which is set amid the vicious moneyed classes of 1905 New York and features a heartrending, perfectly nuanced performance by Gillian Anderson as doomed heroine Lily Bart. Lily, though strikingly beautiful and socially prominent, remains unmarried at the late age of 29. She jokes that marriage is a woman’s vocation, but she is conflicted between her desire to marry a wealthy man and her love for handsome, elegant Lawrence Selden (Eric Stoltz), who, unforgivably, must work for a living. Lily’s options begin to narrow, however, when her backstabbing friend, Bertha Dorset (Laura Linney), informs potential suitors of her gambling debts. In a world where the slightest hint of impropriety equals social death, Lily’s self-professed genius in doing the wrong thing at the right time leads to trouble. A potential solution to Lily’s downward social spiral arrives when a useful secret falls into her lap. In order to save herself, Lily must struggle with her naivete, pride, and ineptitude at playing the elite’s deadly, coded game. Davies’s beautifully composed, richly textured images and Anderson’s skillful evocation of quiet desperation make for a visually stunning, emotionally resonant tale.