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Reviews & Ratings for
Stella More at IMDbPro »

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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Criminally Underrated

10/10
Author: beyondtheforest from United States
18 December 2006

I think it was Ebert who gave Stella four out of four stars but, other than his, I have never read a positive review of this sadly misunderstood drama about class divisions, love, and sacrifice (three themes most great romantic stories or films have in common).

Here the major theme is class division. Stella is a story from depression era America. That said, it was translated to the screen then in such a memorable fashion that this remake (if you ask a Stanwyck fan or two) was not exactly appreciated. Fans of the original never gave it a chance. Furthermore, this version of Stella was made in the 1990s, not exactly a time of great financial trouble in America (as the depression was).

Now is the time to remove the rosy-coloured glasses, in the midst of a new era of recession and poverty in America, and see that this powerful story still rings true, is as timely and relevant as ever, in its updated format.

Yes, class divide is the major theme here. Stella is among the working poor, single, with big dreams but little hope of realizing those dreams. She works in a bar, doesn't have much money, lives in a crummy apartment. You get the drift. In the morning, she doesn't really want to get out of bed. On her wall, pictures of movie stars she idolizes.

A man sees her dance at the bar. He's wealthy, educated, from one of those upper class families that has nothing in common with Stella's. His major concern is what ivy league college to attend, her's is how to pay the rent, how to be 'happy.' They have an affair. They like each other. Stella ends up pregnant. Stella tells the guy the news. His response? "How about an abortion?" She replies, "I just wanted a room full of balloons." He supplies the balloons, and the proposal, but she sees his heart is not in it, and has too much pride to accept. She sends him packing.

Her daughter is eventually torn between the two lifestyles--the love she has for her mom and the advantages and happiness and love held out to her by her wealthy father. Stella, alone and unloved, and not wanting her daughter to become as unhappy as her someday, makes the ultimate sacrifice. She gives up the only love and happiness she has ever known to ensure the happiness of her daughter, and perhaps live vicariously, and with hope, knowing that at least her daughter found something to live for.

Now, for the movie. Everything is right about it. Beautiful score, artful cinematography, great set design (contrast between the two lifestyles; the messy apt. and the decorated mansions), wonderful and heartfelt performances by the whole cast, with Bette Midler, in particular, Oscar-worthy.

This is a film which is much more significant and well-made than you've been led to believe.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Middling Midler remake of the Stanwyck classic STELLA DALLAS

5/10
Author: Arne Andersen (aandersen@landmarkcollege.org) from Putney, VT
22 May 2000

One has to hand it to the Divine Ms. M - she's got guts. The role is tailor-made for her and she does a fine job, despite what the majority of critics say. She just doesn't somehow make us care about Stella, the way Stanwyck did. The plot is pretty much the same - mother love and sacrifice for daughter's future. Trini Alvarado is marvelous as the daughter - surprising the Academy didn't notice her that year. Stephen Collins is a wonderfully sympathetic love interest and Marsha Mason makes the most of her seven scenes as Janice Morrison, creating a warm, intelligent, compassionate human being - the sort you'd rather have as a mom than boozy Bette. Fun to see comic Ben Stiller here as a very young and sexy heavy. The film is very watchable and "works" despite its anachronisms. John Goodman is so obnoxious that one wants (and often does) fast forward through his scenes - the only low point in the film.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

The Divine Miss M's Talent Shows in "Stella"

10/10
Author: Brandon Hall from Pennsylvania
28 July 2001

First off, I would just like to say what a big fan of Bette Midler's I am. Stella is a very good movie with a wonderful cast (Bette Midler, John Goodman, Trini Alvarado, Stephen Collins, Marsha Mason) This is one of my favorite films of all time. It deals with a mother raising a child on her own, she goes through a lot of things that are out of her way to bring up her daughter Jenny played wonderfully by Trini Alvarado. This movie is very good and I suggest that you pick up a copy to watch it. Roger Ebert gave is 3 1/2 stars! And it deserved 4! WONDERFUL! I give it 4 out of 4!

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

GOOD MOVIE!

Author: kkdi1 from USA
15 December 2002

I think this movie is wonderful. Bette Midler truly makes you feel the pain you may go through when making the right choices for your children. This is one of my favorite tear jerker movies. My mother and I always watch it together at least once a year!

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

This is the weepy that Beaches never was

10/10
Author: Lawson from Singapore
26 November 2003

This is the weepy that Beaches never was. As much as I wanted to love Beaches, it always seemed too hurried for me to "feel" for it (its soundtrack is one of my favorite albums though). Stella, on the other hand, moves at a slower (and occasionally too slow) pace and though it's somewhat manipulative in its tears-inducing tale about a self-sacrificial mother, it works because Bette and the rest of the cast turn in great performances. 10/10

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

The Unconditional Love of A Mom...

Author: Blooeyz2001 from Florida
10 November 2002

After the success of "Beaches", Bette Midler once again wanted to rejuvenate the "woman's picture" genre (some Susan Hayward, Bette Davis, Lana Turner, Joan Crawford, & Barbara Stanwyck films come to mind) with a remake of the Stanwyck film "Stella Dallas". I love this movie, but it does have some flaws, including a TV movie feel. The movie starts off in 1969, & ends in the present, which was 1990. What made sense in the 1937 Stanwyck film doesn't hold up at all in 1990. There is no need for a low-income, single mom to give up her daughter for a "better life" with her affluent doctor father in 1990. Add to that the daughter is almost college age! An unlikable/senseless aspect of Midler's Stella is her stubbornness to not accept financial assistance from her daughter's father. This decision is just plain stupid. He wasn't a jerk, he actually wanted to help her & accept his responsibilities. Even marry her, although all they ever had in common, from the get-go, was sex. How many woman in this situation find themselves with a man this willing to help out??? Midler also adopted an unusual accent for this role which comes & goes. It can be annoying at times. John Goodman has a supporting role that makes me cringe every time he's on screen. All this aside, the birthday party scene & the ending is so heart wrenching, it tears you up. Watch this drama, it's enjoyable despite some imperfections.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

the best drama that I have ever seen - Spoilers

Author: nana18_3
18 August 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie always makes me cry in the end when Bette Middler sees her daughter`s wedding from the distance because the only thing she wants is to see the face of her little girl to know if she`s happy...God, I think I`m gonna cry again ! The best part of the movie obviously is when Stella( againts her will and with a broken heart ) dissapoints Jenny( Trini Alvarado - EXCELLENT !!!) with a terrible fight(broken glasses included) with the only intention that her daughter comes back to New York with his father who could give her a better life.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Pointless remake of "Stella Dallas"

1/10
Author: preppy-3 from United States
1 February 2010

An unmarried woman named Stella (Bette Midler) gets pregnant by a wealthy man (Stephen Collins). He offers to marry her out of a sense of obligation but she turns him down flat and decides to raise the kid on her own. Things go OK until the child named Jenny (Trini Alvarado) becomes a teenager and things gradually (and predictably) become worse.

I've seen both the silent version and sound version of "Stella Dallas". Neither one affected me much (and I cry easily) but they were well-made if dated. Trying to remake this in 1990 was just a stupid idea. I guess Midler had enough power after the incomprehensible success of "Beaches" to get this made. This (predictably) bombed. The story is laughable and dated by today's standards. Even though Midler and Alvarado give good performances this film really drags and I was bored silly by the end. Stephen Collins and Marsha Mason (both good actors) don't help in supporting roles. Flimsy and dull. Really--who thought this would work? See the 1937 Stanwyck version instead. I give this a 1.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Unusually better than the original

7/10
Author: gerry-russell-139 from United States
7 February 2002

The original with Barbara Stanwyk is saved only by Stanwyk's performance. The story and the other performances are too sickeningly sweet and the film itself is too dated to be really enjoyed today. Bette Midler's version is much more interesting. She is Stella Claire, an independent, free-spirited single woman who gets pregnant and refuses help from her boyfriend (Stephen Collins) or her friend (John Goodman in an underrated performance). She raises her daughter Jenny played so sweetly by Trini Alvarado and then comes to the conclusion that Jenny's father can do better for her and ultimately makes a life-altering decision. Through out the film, there are plenty of laughs, tears and memorable moments mostly between Midler and Alvarado. Marsha Mason co-stars as Jenny's would-be stepmother, who though wealthy turns out to be a very good influence on her. If you like Midler, Goodman or just good films with plenty of emotion you'll enjoy Bette Midler's version of STELLA.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

The Divine Miss M bites the dust.

Author: Jamie Moffat (jamie_moffat@hotmail.com) from Melbourne, Australia
5 August 1999

I can sympathise with Bette Midler's desire to extend her range, especially following her personal triumph in "Beaches". Throughout "Stella" she bears evidence of a thinking, intelligent actress, and she has my profound admiration for that. But good intentions do not make for a good movie, nor indeed for a good performance. As the redoubtable Stella Dallas - so memorably played by Barbara Stanwyck in 1937 - Midler gives an hysterically over detailed performance. Straining pathetically for heart throbs, she makes herself look more than a little ridiculous - and for a woman who started her career singing in a gay bath house, that's saying something.

But whilst I can't see the film as more than the standard mother-love soap opera, its good to see an actress daring to hang herself in public. Her performance doesn't really work, but the effort in itself is fascinating, and at times she comes so close to making us believe in the film.

With a stronger director and a better script this might have been something special. But Midler has had to carry it alone, and that's simply no way to treat the Divine one.

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