Screenplay: Tony Gilroy
In the 90s I was a fan of this movie, most of the Stephen King adaptations, but this one is especially strong. This was one of the tapes that I had gotten from a monthly movie fleece, club, I mean club. I watched this movie several times back in the day.
Selena St. George stares at the note and news clipping: Her estranged mother Dolores has been accused of murder. Grudgingly, Selena returns to her tiny Maine hometown to offer help. Not that she believes Dolores is innocent. In truth, she harbors suspicions going back 20 years.
Kathy Bates, who won a Best Actress Oscar® for Misery,* scores in another chilling Stephen King story (directed by Taylor Hackford) as tough-talking Dolores Claiborne. Jennifer Jason Leigh is wrenching as embittered Selena. The two circle warily, piecing together past and present, memory and fact, to reveal the startling truth behind two mysterious deaths.
This movie lives on the performances of its principal cast, specifically Kathy Bates bringing the thunder as the titular character, but, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Christopher Plummer are excellent as well. After watching, and enjoying, the film for the first time in about 15 years I had to throw together a little research to make sure there wasn’t some skeevvy nuance that I missed because the film seemed to personify a fledgling feminist finding her strength and I needed to make sure I wasn’t reading it incorrectly.
This film is magic, and transports its viewer, better than most, into Stephen King’s New England. I felt a chill in my bones during the cold, gray, scenes. I felt threatened David Strathairn’s abusive husband. Taylor Hackford produced a very strong film.
The transfer looks great and I highly recommend this movie for pretty much everyone.
Director: 7 – Cinematography: 8 – Edit: 8 – Parity: 7 – Main performance: 9 – Else performance: 7 – Score: 7 – Sound: 5 – Story: 8 – Script: 7 – Effects: 7 – Design: 7 – Costumes: 6 – Keeps interest: 10 – Lasting: 10