7.4/10
31,283
174 user 58 critic

Dolores Claiborne (1995)

A big-city reporter travels to the small town where her mother has been arrested for the murder of an elderly woman that she works for as a maid.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Peter
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Mr. Pease
Roy Cooper ...
Magistrate
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Sammy Marchant
...
Secretary
Weldon Allen ...
Bartender
Tom Gallant ...
Searcher
Kelly Burnett ...
Jack Donovan
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Storyline

Dolores Claiborne works as a maid for a wealthy woman in remote Maine. When she is indicted for the elderly woman's murder, Dolores' daughter Selena returns from New York, where she has become a big-shot reporter. In the course of working out the details of what has happened, as well as some shady questions from the past and Selena's troubled childhood, many difficult truths are revealed about their family's domestic strife. This is cleverly portrayed with present reality shot in cool blue tones blending seamlessly into flashbacks shot in vivid color. As small town justice relentlessly grinds forward, surprises lie in store for the viewers.... Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

f rated | woman | maid | reporter | murder | See All (105) »

Taglines:

Sometimes, an accident can be an unhappy woman's best friend See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and domestic abuse | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 March 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dolores  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$5,721,920 (USA) (26 March 1995)

Gross:

$24,361,867 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There is an alternate coroner's inquest scene at the end of the film. Director Taylor Hackford said it was re-shot with the scene featured in the film because the first version "wasn't as clear". Scenes from the alternate inquest scene are shown throughout the film's trailer. See more »

Goofs

During the eclipse scene with Dolores and Joe, Dolores stares directly at the eclipse for a while. Had this been real she would have gone blind; the reason reflector boxes are handed out during eclipse viewings is because staring at an eclipse directly causes permanent blindness. See more »

Quotes

Dolores Claiborne: It was just a bad patch.
Selena St. George: I had a fucking nervous breakdown, mother!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Dad!: The Best Christmas Story Never (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Days Are Here Again
Written by Milton Ager and Jack Yellen
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Stephen King drama before he was really writing dramas.
3 November 2005 | by (Luoyang, China) – See all my reviews

It was so many years ago that I read Dolores Claiborne that I don't remember how closely the movie follows the book, but I've found that Stephen King movies in general are pretty faithful to the original material, and I'm sure that this one is no exception. Released at a time when a drama, even a dramatic thriller, coming from Stephen King would be known more for being a drama from the master of horror than anything else, Dolores Claiborne is still a surprisingly capable legal thriller with a remarkably intricate story.

Dolores Claiborne is an unskilled housewife living in Maine with her abusive husband and abused daughter, and things get progressively worse until she finds herself with an sexually abused daughter and a dead husband on her hands. The indictment for the murder of her husband doesn't stand in court, and years later she is again faced with the capital charge as the woman that she has been working for as a maid for so many years falls or is thrown down the stairs of her house to her death, and it's up to the town's Detective, played brilliantly by Christopher Plummer, to prove that it was not an accident. Oh no, not an accident at all. Detective Mackey (Plummer), let Dolores get away once and damned if that nonsense was going to happen again.

Unfortunately, Jennifer Jason Leigh, a genuinely gifted actor, is saddled with a part that forces her to play within the confines of a tortured soul, making her performance come off as forced and unconvincing, meanwhile Kathy Bates once again fills the screen with her powerful presence, delivering what has to be one of her best performances.

The story takes place in cold Maine weather that is so effective that it almost makes you want to put a jacket on, and in a house that is so gray and lifeless and empty that after watching the movie I had to go to the supermarket and buy a steak. That may not make sense, but here's something that does, the characters in this movie are so well rounded that it almost seems like a documentary. Definitely worth checking out, even if you're living so far in the past that you still rent from Hollywood Video and pay their late fees. Don't miss this one!


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