Critic Reviews



Based on 19 critic reviews provided by
The movie is given unusually wide dimension by director Taylor Hackford, who creates a subtly scary drama that emphasizes character over caricature (in most cases) and plausibility over formulaic stupidity (again, in most cases).
Although most of the elements are familiar and virtually all of the characters are unpleasant, this is a better than average melodrama--mainly because of the volcanic power of Kathy Bates in the title role.
It's sometimes distracting to tell a story in flashbacks and memories; the story line gets sidetracked. The director, Taylor Hackford, is successful, however, in making the present seem to flow into and out of the past.
Although the forced ending, which seems deigned to create an unnatural moment of triumph, weakens the climactic catharsis, it doesn't diminish the naked honesty which forms the foundation of Dolores Claiborne.
The mysteries of Dolores Claiborne are never gripping enough to consume an audience, and there are few, if any, surprises along the way. But the women are wonderful and reason enough to see the picture.
All the performances are good, the script is subtle and waste-free and Danny Elfman's score is evocative and appropriate, but the direction is what gives the movie its sweep.
Written as a book-length harangue from its heroine's point of view, and directed efficiently by Taylor Hackford, Dolores Claiborne has become a vivid film that revolves around Ms. Bates's powerhouse of a performance.
Taylor Hackford's film version of the Stephen King novel, has a whopping list of shortcomings -- and yet it still manages to be an engrossing, unsettling and, at times, powerful psychological thriller.
Director Taylor Hackford brings an appropriate level of pulpy energy to the telling, and star Kathy Bates... gives a better performance than the film deserves as the grumpy and possibly homicidal title character.
Austin Chronicle
Second-guessing the audience in the third act takes some of the wind out of his sails (the film wraps up the loose ends so tightly you can practically see the bow), but Hackford does his best with a King tale that many thought would be unfilmable.

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