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The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne
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Index 18 reviews in total 

21 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Deeply moving

Author: KMR from Minneapolis
30 November 1999

An unsparing portrait of a lonely spinster with nothing to go on but her own ever-weakening faith. All the performances are wonderful, but Maggie Smith in the title role is revelatory. One of the best performances by an actress that I've ever seen.

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21 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Best Performance of all time by an Actress

Author: fubar-2 from Boston, Ma.
15 February 1999

This ranks with Agnes Moorehead in The Magnificent Ambersons and Katherine Hepburn in Long Day's Journey Into Night as the single greatest performance recorded on film by a woman. Maggie Smith will rip your heart out!

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20 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

One of the Best Films of the 1980s

Author: gpadillo from Portland, Maine
10 May 2005

As Judith Maggie Smith turns in the performance of a lifetime and one of the best and most complete portrayals by any actor on film. This is an astonishing film, full of bleak Irish heartbreak, yet with the promise of hope.

Smith is a no less than a revelation in the title role and one cannot help but route for this desperate character even when all looks hopeless. The screenplay had been fought over for years by actresses of every stripe, with, for a while, Jane Fonda, leading the pack of actresses trying to get Judith onto the screen. It's a good thing Maggie Smith won out.

The ensemble cast of actors led by Bob Hoskins is fully up to Smith's standard and the emotional wallops this movie packs are big ones indeed.

George Delarue's score is simply perfect underlying with the exact weight and gravity - and sweetness - of every situation.

When is this thing coming out on DVD? It's simply ridiculous it hasn't yet appeared.

Highest recommendation.

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21 out of 25 people found the following review useful:


Author: Lukas-Albert Gardiner from montreal, canada
17 March 2000

had this film been properly distributed MAGGIE SMITH would have SURELY WON another OSCAR (her 3rd) - I have to agree with other users on this one - this HAS to be one of the greatest performances by an actress in all of cinematic history - watch it if only for seeing MAGGIE SMITH prove to you that she is indeed one of the GREATEST actresses that has ever graced the silver screen

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18 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Maggie Smith is just............................WOW!!!

Author: donta49001 from Michigan
31 August 2005

I own this VHS, which I found on eBay for like $5.00... I had no idea what a treasure I was receiving. I was looking for it because I will watch anything with Maggie Smith in it, and also because she won the Best Actress British Academy Award for it.

Maggie is in the top 3 of my favorite actresses. You give her a good role and she will just knock your socks off. She has mastered comedy and drama in a way that I haven't quite seen before. She does not play the role of Judith in this film. She IS Judith Hearne in all her depressing, desperate, lonely, and passionate glory. I could've cried my eyes out at her devastation over the spilling of the whiskey....and that's all I'm giving away. She simply reaches through the screen, grabs your heart, and rips it out of your chest. There is NO WAY you can see this film and not feel SOMETHING. It is one of the best, if not THE BEST performance by a female actor recorded.....and I've seen a lot of films.

I have no idea how this was missed by the Oscars, with practically zero money-making films like "Monster", "Monster's Ball", "Vera Drake", and "Million Dollar Baby" being recognized for the performances and not the commercial success now-a-days. Maggie's performance CRUSHED the nominees that year and the winner (Cher for "Moonstruck")... Find this, buy it, or something. My GOSH if you love a great performance, you just have to see this film!! You won't be sorry.

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17 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Extraordinarily sensitive and insightful acting of even better then virtuoso quality

Author: tambareen ( from Philadelphia
14 June 2000

I own this film and have watched it perhaps a dozen times. While it's a bit depressing I am totally captured and inspired by Maggie Smiths astonishingly deep portrayal of Judith Hearne. I'm sure I'll watch it another dozen times or more. What's SO compelling is the scope of the private look we're afforded into this beautifully drawn character. There are lots of glimpses of her alone, interacting with just her thoughts or with cherished photographs or with herself in the mirror.

This peek behind the private door is touching to the extreme. Its a pity this film is not better known because of all the films I know it most plainly shouts about what the ART of acting is all about. One sees FAR more deeply into the soul of a character by WATCHING the non verbal facial expressions. This face language cant possibly be done in a novel without ludicrous verbosity. Smith is an utter master at this subtle yet profound art of letting a thought show in the face. It's these deeply human feelings that all of us exude (when we KNOW no one can see us) that make this character so universal.

I actually think this virtuoso performance is better even then Her Jean Brodie.

All the other characters are very well delineated and extremely well played. Bob Hoskins also gives an extremely good performance

If you LOVE great ACTING where subtle deep profound feelings show clearly in an expressive face..this is the very best I've seen to date.

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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

My brief review of the film

Author: sol- from Perth, Australia
11 December 2005

Playing an atypically quiet character for the most part, Maggie Smith is excellent in this film, and she deservedly won the BAFTA award for Best Actress for her role. As for the film itself, it is also powered by some fine acting from Marie Kean, and the motivations are interesting for each and every character - the film is a study of why different persons do what they do and what they expect in return. Sadly the snail's pacing is a bit slow for the material to have vigor, and some techniques used do not come off well, such as the melding of flashbacks and double narration with two characters each saying their thoughts. The gloom and anger in the film tend to verge on the excessive, but yet these sad emotions bring extra power to the story, and there really is not much of a story - in terms of events - to work with, but the film manages to do a satisfactory job. However, to call Smith satisfactory would not be justice at all. She is simply wonderful, in one of her last great performances, and the film is worth seeing for her work in it alone.

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Masterclass of acting

Author: Sir_Knight from United Kingdom
3 April 2008

This film has to contain one of the contenders for Dame Maggie's best performance. If it wasn't for the appalling lack of efficiency of the film's distributor in America, I think that this could have earned her, her third Academy Award. Her accent has to be one of the finest Irish accents ever committed to film by a non Irish national. Her acting does carry the film for me. In this film you will also see one of the very rare times where Dame Maggie really lets rip, with a nerve shattering screech of a shout. It is quite unsettling when she does unleash this roar, full of pure emotion, completely in character, and without the need for false theatrics. Ian Mcniece is too theatrical in his accent for me, and Bob Hoskins is very good, but gets acted off the screen by Dame Maggie. Really this turns into a Dame Maggie vehicle. Not because its written for her (the book was published before the film came about), and not because she hogs the screen, it is simply because you become so enthralled with her character, you see Judith Hearne as a real person, and Dame Maggie as arguably the greatest actress of our time.

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant look at a tragic life

Author: keefep_email from Virginia
6 May 2004

Maggie Smith is enormously affecting as Irish piano teacher Judith Hearne, whose life is plagued by Catholic guilt; painful memories of her early life with a difficult, wealthy aunt; and the less-than-genteel situation in which she now finds herself. At the shabby boarding house where she lives, Hearne meets the brother of her landlady. As they become friendlier, she seizes on the chance that this man will save her from a dismal life as a poor spinster.

The uniformly fine cast includes Bob Hoskins and Prunella Scales. I cannot recommend this movie highly enough to anyone who enjoys character-driven stories.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

A Moving Film

Author: coolbluegreen
21 November 2003

Why isn't this available on DVD? What is wrong with the studios? This is a very moving film. It is not entirely faithful to the wonderful book on which it is based, but that doesn't matter. It captures the lonely desperation of the characters, especially Judith. Ah, this is a sad film. It is a marvelous, sad movie, and it has two of the best actors ever -- Maggie Smith and the incomparable Bob Hoskins. Please -- release this on DVD!

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