Instead of heading to Arizona for her next big story in what has been her illustrious career in her relatively young life, New York based investigative journalist Selena St. George heads to her hometown on a small island just off the coast of Jonesport, Maine upon receiving a fax from an anonymous sender that her mother, Dolores Claiborne, is the only suspect in what looks to be the murder of her wealthy employer of twenty-three years, Vera Donovan. Dolores, who reassumed her maiden name following the death of Selena's father, Joe St. George, started working as one of Vera's domestics upon her moving permanently into what used to be the Donovans' summer house after Jack Donovan's passing, Dolores ultimately moving into the Donovan house full time as her caregiver when Vera required 'round the clock care. Dolores' employment, which was solely to save money for Selena's education, was despite miserly and overly particular Vera only paying a pittance. Selena has been estranged from ...Written by
A reference is made to Shawshank Prison, which was featured in "The Shawshank Redemption" (1994). Bob Gunton (Mr. Pease) played Warden Norton in that film. See more »
When Vera is elderly and bedridden, being looked after by Delores, she is shown to have no teeth at all and her voice has a lisp because of this. Between shots, she suddenly has teeth and is even able to bite Delores' arm. See more »
Expert story-telling+fine acting=good entertainment
I first saw "Dolores Claiborne" when it came out in 1995 and have seen it again some 3 or 4 times since, a practice I dedicate only to "certified" masterpieces. At first, I couldn't figure out why I kept revisiting "D.C." when it showed up on cable - it's not a cinematic wonder or a work of art (something it doesn't strive to be, by the way), not even a story that you can say it's really original. But as I became more familiar with the film, I could see why it always pulled me in: it's a triumph of story-telling, of the WAY and PACE the story is revealed in small precise doses much like slowly completing a puzzle, the kind of film you can only let go when the last missing piece (Selena's final flashback) fits into place.
How the story manages to make such initially repulsive characters (all of them!!) develop into sympathetic (or at least pathetic) ones is of course Stephen King's special talent, expertly translated by the fine jobs by the screenwriter, actors and director of "Dolores Claiborne". The cinematography is kind of obvious in its distinct color treatment of past and present, but the entire cast is inspired, including Kathy Bates' best-ever performance (she has stated so herself), especially in the flash-back scenes; delightfully virtuoso Judy Parfitt (you just keep hoping along for more Vera's scenes, and each one of them is a knockout); and reliable pros Christopher Plummer, David Strathairn (such an underrated actor!) and John C. Reilly. Even Jennifer Jason Leigh for once has her irritating mannerisms fit perfectly to build her terribly tormented character.
That's what good story-telling is all about: even if you already know the plot from A to Z, you just want to see once again the way it unfolds, like a good scary fairy tale. "Dolores Claiborne" is not without faults, but it's certainly worth your time, and even more than once.
89 of 100 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this