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Mesmerized
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Reviews & Ratings for
My Letter to George More at IMDbPro »Mesmerized (original title)

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15 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Nothing much here

4/10
Author: Watcher-37 from East Coast US
25 August 1999

The incomparable Jodie Foster, along with John Lithgow, headline this movie about a woman on trial for killing her husband. Foster is a girl raised in a home when Lithgow comes to arrange for her to be his wife.

When they marry it turns out that he is a cruel man, and soon he begins to get sick and then sicker as time goes by. The movie leaves nothing to surprise as you know what happens each step of the way, but frankly both Lithgow and Foster have done so much better work that this one is a one time only viewing.

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15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Fake accents aside. It should have been much better.

Author: P. Hart from Tampa, Florida
8 August 2001

Two very talented actors in a strange and twisted tale. An orphaned girl seeks freedom from her orphanage by marrying an older man she does not love. Not enough character development. Good story with a bad screenplay. I'm sure Jodie would like to stick this one in her "never again" file.

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Didn't quite GET IT!

Author: Clara19987 from United States
27 May 2005

While I adore Jodie Foster and find all of John Lithgow's performances to be uniquely brilliant, I really didn't get this movie. The actors were great, but the filming, directing, and especially the script were inarticulate and just plain messy. While I kind of understood the plot by the end of the movie, I couldn't help being confused as I watched it. The character development was non-existent. The plot was put together with spit. I felt awful for the actors who looked like they were desperately trying to make sense of the movie for the audience. I've seen other confusing movies where the directing and script were so brilliant that even if I didn't understand it the first time, I was intrigued to watch it again. This time, I really was not interested to attempt it again. What a mess! Still, Lithgow and Foster should be proud of their performances. They really did a good job despite the lack of script. Good material, good story, and good acting - but what a shame that the director and the writer couldn't portray it any better.

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13 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

not bad Jodie foster movie

7/10
Author: vampi1960 from United States
29 October 2006

mesmerized is a good but very underrated movie about the true story of Victoria Thompson in the 1800's.Jodie foster is great in the role and her acting is above average as usual.well I'm a huge Jodie foster fan so i try to watch all her films,even the little known ones.john lithgow plays her creepy older husband.and Micheal Murphy(Howard sterns private parts)plays a minister who's into hypnotism.well i bought this DVD at a dollar tree store for a buck,the other feature is an early demi Moore film from 1981 called choices.as for mesmerized,i was surprised that i enjoyed it,after reading some of the posts i was determined to judge it for myself.all others should do the same,every one has different tastes. if you like Jodie foster then i recommend mesmerized.i give it 7 out of 10.sorry no spoilers.not giving away any of the plot.that would be a sin.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

I watched it twice

6/10
Author: mustang22 from United States
20 April 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Being a big Jodie foster fan the first time i watched this I was a bit disappointed. It seemed a bit slow and boring. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for this type movie.

The next time I watched this movie with my lowered expectations, I found I actually enjoyed it. Really good acting. Great scenery(the first time I'd seen any of New Zealand).

I liked the simple plot. A very young girl in an pre-arranged marriage with a man she has no love for, and who tells her she will spend her entire life with him on this island. This idea she cannot tolerate. By accidentally learning hypnotism, she then hypnotizes and slowly poisons him to death. By hypnotizing him, the posion he is given does not look like it was forced on him, so she is found not guilty of murder. She's free of him and the island.

This isn't Silence of the Lambs, but I think its still worth a watch.

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

There's a reason this one's in the cut-out bin...

Author: Rick Hasley (OllieTs) from Nashville, TN
8 September 1999

I found this film to be disturbing; not in a David Lynch way but more like some odorous menacing person sitting beside you on a bus that you really don't want to look at but do and then regret it. There were no redeeming factors to be found in spite of the fine acting of Foster & Lith

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

There's a Good Movie in Here Somewhere

6/10
Author: George Escalera from Gettysburg, PA
15 December 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My Letter to George, a.k.a., Mesmerized, has all the right parts for a very good movie. As it is, it is only confounded this viewer.

The performers are well cast and all very good in their roles. The music, the sets and costuming along with the stars all seem committed to relating a very interesting tale based on actual events. In my opinion, it is the ham-fisted editing that sinks the movie. It is possible that the script was not working and a last ditch effort to save the movie in the editing room leaves us with the convoluted release.

We find Oliver Thompson (John Lithgow), to be a man comfortable only in the universe he created for himself and seems to have invited his child-bride, Jodie Foster's Victoria, into that plan only to emulate his domineering father with the child she was to bear.

In this version, Oliver's younger brother George Thompson (Dan Shor) comes off as a lesser character. With more time on screen for development we might we might be able to see what attracts Victoria to him other than merely being a seemingly better option to her circumstance.

There have been some negative comments about the grainy cinematography however I should think that was a deliberate decision on the part of the filmmaker to keep the setting from looking romantic which would have worked against the story. The Jodie Foster character was living in a world that was hardly kind to women. A pretty countryside, nice clothes and home did not make it a wonderful life for Victoria.

Worth a look and should be of interest to students of film.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

See it once so you can check it off the list

4/10
Author: Matt James from Blighty
17 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Victoria (Jodie Foster), a foundling, is arrange-married to a New Zealand businessman with the romantic skills (and respect for women) of a Playboy club keyholder. By modern day standards Oliver Thompson (John Lithgow) is brutish, though not, it should be said, by the standards of the time. Victoria shows increasing regret at how things have turned out, amplified by developing feelings for Oliver's brother George (Dan Shor) who, whilst he's no Emmeline Pankhurst, does have the virtue of knowing where his heart is. We meet Thompson sr. (Harry Andrews) and it soon becomes clear where Oliver's idiosyncratic character got its template. Some more demonstrations of brutishness and Oliver's penchant for watching his wife through holes in a wall as she disrobes, a perversion that the demure Victoria finds unbearable. She decides to leg it to the US with George but they are discovered aboard ship and George gets accidentally clonked on the thinkbox with a candlestick. Oliver and his father smooth things over by simply sending his carcass to America without an explanatory note, or even, apparently, a moment's regret. Now in true bondage Victoria settles into the role of attentive wife, and she is so attentive that Oliver suddenly falls ill. Victoria begins to look extremely sinister (why is it that extraordinarily beautiful women can do the chilling psychopathic-slow-burn look so well?)

Along comes the perplexed doctor Finch (Philip Holder) to save the day. But the doc's hippocratic oath is slipping as he admires Victoria's shapely ankles while Oliver attempts to speak, "Gwarhf! Phlurg! Flumsh!" In a scene not for the faint-hearted, the doc offers some typically Victorian bedside manner: "Please try to keep calm. I know that it hurts." Now, let's whip the rest of those pesky teeth out shall we? Mercifully the tortured Oliver soon checks out and is solemly buried, presumably with his teeth in his breast pocket in an envelope marked "Choppers".

In the final scenes which bring us back to the point we came in, Victoria is on trial. The good doctor seems to vacillate between honouring his oath and failing to fend off the image of Victoria's dainty feet which is clearly burning a hole in his trousers. The gambit works and Victoria assumes her place in civilised society where we find George anxiously waiting for her.

Substantively that's the story but there were some issues. The acting was passable though perhaps below the standard we have come to expect from the leading pair. At the time I think Jodie was having doubts about staying in the biz and this was one of several ducks in the years before "The Accused".

The accents were all over the shop. I don't know why Victoria has a cut-glass English accent if she grew up in New Zealand unless the foundling home was staffed by ex Girton girls. (It was unclear to me if the foundling home was in NZ or Blighty) The Kiwi accent is a brave, if variable, try by John Lithgow but he sounds Australian as do other players who attempt to sound correct. To the educated ear, Kiwi and Aussie are vastly different accents.

The music is very strange; eerie when it needn't be and absent when eerie would be appropriate. The editing is either deliberately bizarre else done between (or during) bouts of heavy drinking. These become less of an issue as the film progresses, hinting heavily at a tight deadline and/or a sudden shortage of whiskey. New Zealand is far more beautiful than this film portrays and the under-use of the location is a pity.

It's not a film to be watched often, or indeed, twice. But it can faintly entertain the one time.

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Slow pace adds nothing

2/10
Author: Oswald from Dallas
16 August 2002

The slow pace of this movie adds nothing to the suspenseful nature. It's just plain boring. Lithgow and Foster are outstanding, but editing and/or directing made this a crash-and-burn. Yawn! Although the scenery is beautiful at times, the interior shots are all cliched and uninteresting. As if the director is trying to draw the viewer towards well-known references, but rewarding him with nothing novel in the end.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Odd-ball movie

4/10
Author: elevator_opratr from Pennsylvania, USA
17 June 2005

Odd-ball movie. What could have been a decent story, instead fell victim to some very bad acting ... acting that was almost painful to watch ... it felt like the actors/actresses were totally uninterested in recording this.

Based on a supposedly true story based in 1800's New Zealand with an almost unbelievable plot, the unbelievability of the plot is made even more inevitable by poor acting. Instead of driving home the point of the real-ness of the movie, the acting made it look like a joke.

Watch it and be prepared to scratch your head at the end. You'll say to yourself: "either this was total baloney, or it was true, but the story very poorly told."

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