An American girl inherits a fortune and falls into a misguided relationship with a gentleman confidence artist whose true nature, including a barbed and covetous disposition, turns her life into a nightmare.
Based solely on a tea leaf reading, superstitious and introspective Kay believes she and Louis are destined to fall in love with each other, he who she is able to convince of the same ... See full summary »
In 1920s and 1930s New Zealand, Janet Frame grows up in a poor family with lots of brothers and sisters. Already at an early age she is different from the other kids. She gets an education ... See full summary »
While on a journey of discovery in exotic India, beautiful young Ruth Barron falls under the influence of a charismatic religious guru. Her desperate parents then hire PJ Waters, a macho ... See full summary »
The sudden reappearance of his best friend Toni, after ten years absence, causes Chris to remember his past, to question some of his lifestyle decisions and to re-evaluate his life and marriage to Marion.
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A mute woman along with her young daughter, and her prized piano, are sent to 1850s New Zealand for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, and she's soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.
Turning her back on her wealthy, established family, Diane Arbus falls in love with Lionel Sweeney, an enigmatic mentor who introduces Arbus to the marginalized people who help her become one of the most revered photographers of the twentieth century.
Robert Downey Jr.,
London of the late 19th century is a haven for political exiles of all sorts - refugees, partisans, anarchists. Verloc has made his living spying for the Russian government, an agent ... See full summary »
Isabel Archer, an American heiress and free thinker travels to Europe to find herself. She tactfully rebuffs the advances of Caspar Goodwood, another American who has followed her to England. Her cousin, Ralph Touchett, wise but sickly becomes a soulmate of sorts for her. She makes an unfortunate alliance with the creepy Madame Merle who leads her to make an even more unfortunate alliance with Gilbert Osmond, a smooth but cold collector of Objets' de art who seduces her with an intense but unattainable sexuality. Isabel marries Osmond only to realize she's just another piece of art for his collection and that Madame Merle and Osmond are lovers who had hatched a diabolical scheme to take Isabel's fortune. Isabel's only comfort is the innocent daughter of Osmond, Pansy, but even that friendship is spoiled when Countess Gemini, Osmond's sister, reveals the child's true parentage. Isabel finally breaks free of Osmond and returns to Ralph's bedside, where, while breathing his last, they ... Written by
Teresa B. <O'Donnell@worldnet.att.net>
First collaboration between Jane Campion and Nicole Kidman. However, it was actually Campion who discovered Kidman, where she at the age of 14 was performing at Australian Theater for Young People and subsequently caught the eye of the director. See more »
(at around 47 mins) A horse carriage is passing through the shot from right to left. The crew with dolly-cam and equipment is clearly visible. See more »
Six Cavatines Op 39 ('Ah! Non dir che non t'adoro')
Composed by Mauro Giuliani
Performed by Maurizia Barazzoni, soprano
From "Ariettes et Cavatines" (album number ARN 68281)
Courtesy of Arion Disques S.A., France
By Arrangement with Allegro Corporation See more »
Misses the mark, but shouldn't be entirely dismissed
When I read DAISY MILLER in high school and was completely unengaged, that set me off the wrong foot with Henry James. I also dislike his over-attentiveness to detail, and I must confess a prejudice against any writer who says in 10 pages what they could just have easily said in 2. Yet THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY, once you get into it, turns out to be quite a powerful novel, and given how much I loved THE PIANO, I was really looking forward to what Jane Campion could bring to it. Rarely have I seen a movie version, though, which is so far off the mark but still has worthy parts to it.
Let's start with the mistakes. Campion claimed she was re-imagining the story of Isabel Archer, an American woman of character but not of means, who eventually marries unhappily, instead of just giving a straight filmed version. That's all well and good, but what she and writer Laura Jones do is all but gut the motivations behind the story; we don't see Archer's vitality early on, so we have nowhere to go when she falls, and we don't see what draws people to her. And when Madame Merle and Osmond appear, they are so obviously snakes in the grass that we think Archer is a fool for trusting them, instead of feeling empathy for her. It doesn't help that Malkovich is so obviously bored here he does nothing to exude any charm. Hershey comes off better, but what's done with her character is a little strange as well.
Nevertheless, this movie can't be easily dismissed. First of all, Campion's gift for imagery still comes through; she visually expresses the passions lying hidden in the novel, which few directors do when adapting period pieces. Also, Kidman grows more confident as the movie wears on, so we do get a sense of Isabel. But as someone already commented, the most worthy element here is Martin Donovan as Ralph, Isabel's sickly cousin in love with her, and whose advice sets the whole story in motion. He doesn't play for sentiment, but earns it instead. The ending also keeps its power. Still, this is quite a missed opportunity for Campion.
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