Sunday, January 10, 2016

Dolores Claiborne (1995)

Dolores Claiborne: adapted by Tony Gilroy from the novel by Stephen King; directed by Taylor Hackford; starring Kathy Bates (Dolores Clairborne/St. George), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Selena St. George), Judy Parfitt (Vera Donovan), Christopher Plummer (Det. Mackey), David Strathairn (Joe St. George), and John C. Reilly (Constable Stamshaw) (1995): Little Tall Island off the coast of Maine supplies the setting for this terrific character study, acted terrifically and generally directed and adapted successfully from Stephen King's novel. 

While the direction and screenwriting are solid if a bit programmatic, the performances by Kathy Bates, Christopher Plummer, David Strathairn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Judy Parfitt should have netted the film a host of acting Oscar nominations. It's a Stephen King adaptation that merits the sort of robust second life that The Shawshank Redemption received after its theatrical release. It's also the most affectingly feminist of all King adaptations, the one most attuned to the casual humiliations of patriarchy. Nova Scotia plays Maine, btw. Highly recommended.

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