Sometimes the present can be clearer by looking at the past. Maybe that explains the power of the British costume drama Maurice, a tale of upper-class homosexual tendencies crossed with lower-class sexual desire. In this Merchant-Ivory adaptation of E.M. Forster’s slim novel, two English schoolboys have a special relationship while at Cambridge — but once out of school, Maurice (James Wilby) feels drawn to continue it, while Clive (a young Hugh Grant) wants to put it behind him in order to fulfill the hetero expectations of his society. Forster wanted a happy ending for his novel because such things at the time were impossible. In 1987, happy endings often seemed just as far away as ever, so Maurice’s final discovery of love and joy rang as true (if historically iffy) as ever.