Critic Reviews



Based on 17 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
The New York Times
The film's master stroke is its understanding that this is Humbert's story, told in his own lyrical voice, from his own passionate, sad, tortured perspective.
Lyne's efforts to be both passionate and artistic are generally successful, although a few sex scenes are disturbing and arguably close to salacious.
For all of their vaunted (and, it turns out, false) fidelity to Nabokov, Lyne and Schiff have made a pretty, gauzy Lolita that replaces the book's cruelty and comedy with manufactured lyricism and mopey romanticism.
Christian Science Monitor
Vladimir Nabokov's novel helped open society's eyes to the evils of pedophilia in the 1950s, and this pensive adaptation renews the warning for a later generation.
In many ways, the concept underlying Lolita is more provocative than the actual material, which tends to be a bit long-winded. This is more the fault of the book than of Lyne's approach.
New York Magazine (Vulture)
The new version of Lolita, released at last, turns out to be a beautifully made, melancholy, and rather touching account of a doomed love affair between a full-grown man and a very young woman.
Lyne's direction is sometimes overblown -- debauched playwright Clare Quilty's (Frank Langella) appearance amid the pale fire of exploding bug-zappers really is a bit much -- and the unfortunate fact is that the novel is one long tease, an intricate, seductive game in which words are as important as deeds.
Lyne has created, from a screenplay by Stephen Schiff, an earnest movie about a man who, by falling in love with his emotionally immature stepdaughter, ends up destroying himself.
Except for a memorably haunted performance by Jeremy Irons as the conflicted Humbert Humbert, what the new version lacks most of all is inspiration.
However, Lyne (whose sexually exploitative works include such popular box-office fare as "Flashdance," "9 1/2 Weeks," "Fatal Attraction," and "Indecent Proposal") has turned in a Lolita that is remarkably tame and tasteful. This is a Lolita for the English Lit crowd rather than the raincoat crowd.
And so the chief complaint one can lodge against Lyne's film is central: It's not that funny. Which is another way of saying that, for all its controversy, it's not that daring.

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