6.3/10
8,950
68 user 60 critic

The Portrait of a Lady (1996)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 17 January 1997 (USA)
Trailer
2:11 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Sweetie (1989)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

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 »

Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Geneviève Lemon, Karen Colston, Tom Lycos
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

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 »

Director: Christopher Hampton
Stars: Bob Hoskins, Patricia Arquette, Gérard Depardieu
Metroland (1997)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

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.

Director: Philip Saville
Stars: Christian Bale, Lee Ross, Emily Watson
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

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 »

Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Kerry Fox, Alexia Keogh, Karen Fergusson
Royal Deceit (1994)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

This re-telling of Hamlet goes back to the original Danish source material. The opening scenario remains the same: Hamlet's father murdered by his brother who then weds the widowed mother. ... See full summary »

Director: Gabriel Axel
Stars: Gabriel Byrne, Helen Mirren, Christian Bale
Holy Smoke (1999)
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

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 »

Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Kate Winslet, Harvey Keitel, Julie Hamilton
To Die For (1995)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Suzanne Stone is an aspiring TV personality who will do anything to be in the spotlight, including enlisting three teenagers to kill her husband.

Director: Gus Van Sant
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Matt Dillon, Joaquin Phoenix
Bright Star (2009)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The three-year romance between 19th-century poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne near the end of his life.

Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Abbie Cornish, Ben Whishaw, Paul Schneider
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Lovers struggle to overcome the everyday temptations of an ordinary human life; what they discover is somewhat extraordinary.

Director: Mark Webber
Stars: Teresa Palmer, Rosario Dawson, Mark Webber
Gimlet (1995)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Julia runs a trendy bar in Barcelona. She treats men with caution, believing one can love too much and invite pain. She's been dating Pablo, one of her waiters. After his grisly murder (his... See full summary »

Director: José Luis Acosta
Stars: Ángela Molina, Viggo Mortensen, Abel Folk
Normalerweize (TV Series 2004)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Satirical show conceived and performed by Lærke Winther Andersen and Anna Neye Poulsen.

Stars: Lærke Winther Andersen, Anna Neye Poulsen, Martin Buch
Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A hopelessly depressed woman's life turns around when she purchases a magic Black Velvet Pantsuit.

Director: William Butler
Stars: Penny Hamilton, Mark Nassar, Leslie Jordan
Edit

Cast

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

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 »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

17 January 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Retrato de una dama  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

ITL 5,570,319,000 (Italy) (15 November 1996)

Gross:

$3,684,143 (USA) (21 February 1997)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Shelley Duvall learned Italian to portray Countess Gemini. See more »

Goofs

(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 »

Quotes

Ralph Touchett: I love you but without hope.
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

Hidden Treasures
Composed by George Fenton and John Leach
Provided by Associated Production Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A woman is torn between independence and love in this feminist adaptation of Henry James' novel.
14 March 2001 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Many people could not warm up to this remarkable adaptation of Henry James' novel, A Portrait of a Lady. The dark, abusive themes and open ending are not part of typical costume drama fare, but both are true to Henry James' novel and to Jane Campion's vision.

Henry James originally wrote the novel in the 1880s. Intended as an exploration of what a woman might do if she were given independent means, James' book indicts women as being trapped by a weaker nature. Exploring the same material Campion's movie comes to a different conclusion.

The adaptation and direction are superb. The movie maintains the steady rhythm of doom that makes James' novel an enduring classic. There is no place where this is more evident in the film than in its lingering images. The camera holds on to the subject a moment longer than expected, making the viewer a little uncomfortable, and anticipating sudden disaster that never quite arrives. Ms. Campion directs this film like a horror film, which is exactly what it is.

The acting in this film is also convincing, from Nicole Kidman's paralyzed Isabel, to John Malkovich as a hypnotically terrifying pursuer. They are backed by a solid cast of major actors in minor roles, all adding to Isabel's complex societal tragedy.

Portrait of a Lady, particularly this film adaptation, is a remarkable example of how stories may stay the same, but their meanings change over time.

Related films include: Washington Square (1997), The House of Mirth (2000), The Buccaneers (1995)(mini).


25 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Hated it dontpanik
Christian Bale ericajv12
Someone explain please.... finch6789@aol.com
The ending and the fainting ariadreamer
Question about Pansy mouse__07
Book vs. Film a_cardboard_sunset
Discuss The Portrait of a Lady (1996) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?