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The Portrait of a Lady (1996)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  17 January 1997 (USA)
6.2
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 8,183 users   Metascore: 61/100
Reviews: 65 user | 55 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

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.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Catherine Zago ...
Mother Superior
Alessandra Vanzi ...
Nun #2
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Storyline

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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature sensuality and some brief nudity | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

17 January 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Retrato de una dama  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$134,805 (USA) (27 December 1996)

Gross:

£575,908 (UK) (14 March 1997)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Before being cast as Ralph, Martin Donovan initially met with Jane Campion about playing Casper. See more »

Goofs

During the ball scene, a full orchestra can be heard while only a chamber orchestra (less than ten people) appears on the screen. See more »

Quotes

Gilbert Osmond: You don't lose your temper, you find it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Jane Campion thanks her family, Colin, Alice and Richard, for their generous support, suggestions and encouragement during the making of this film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gossip Girl: Portrait of a Lady Alexander (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Concerto No. 5 in F Minor for Harpsichord and Strings, BWV 1056
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Trevor Pinnock and The English Concert
Courtesy of Archiv Production
By Arrangement with PolyGram Film & TV Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

Better than expected...
19 January 2001 | by See all my reviews

After the cool reception the film received I thought it would be very dull and pretentious. It´s much more interesting and does engage the viewer because of the tremendous acting. It´s wonderful with movies that give actors enough time and space to act out all the emotions in their character -very rare...

Nicole Kidman is very talented. (I hadn´t expected that from someone married to a very mediocre actor as Tom Cruise but he must have other qualities...) Barbra Hershey is a revelation! What a tremendous actress, really everything she says rings true. Exceptional acting! She and Nicole should have been nominated for Oscars. It´s a treat to see the 2 Shelleys in film these days. Misses Winters and Duvall bring life to the film....which CANNOT be said of the overhyped John Malcovich. Is he a sleepwalker? With his half closed eyes and droning voice he is supposed to be one of Americas greatest actors. I can´t see it. He was good in "Being John Malcovich" which is just the point : John Malcovich can only play John Malcovich!

It is a good film to experience. Have patience with it. Not everything works, like the 90´s girls in the beginning (huh?, was it just to attract a young audience and make the subject matter "timeless"?) The special effects of seeing the 3 lovers evaporate was unnecessary. They could just have walked out of the frame, the meaning would be the same and the scene would have been spookier without the Star Trek effects.


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