Terence Davies’s adaptation of Edith Wharton’s 1905 novel—an unsparing survey of the New York aristocracy at the turn of the 20th century—may have been shot in Glasgow and Merseyside, yet it offers an exquisite drama of American class distinctions. Gillian Anderson stars as the ill-fated Lily Bart, a well-born woman who watches her social status slowly crumble as she refuses to marry for money and becomes a pawn in the self-preserving schemes of fair-weather friends like the calculating socialite Bertha Dorset (Laura Linney). Vividly bringing the book’s period to life on a modest budget and with a peerless cast, Davies captures all the emotional violence of Wharton, as well as her cutting insight into a privileged milieu whose worst tendencies remain all too recognizable a century later.