7.4/10
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Dolores Claiborne (1995)

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A big-city reporter travels to the small town where her mother has been arrested for the murder of an elderly woman that she works for as a maid.

Director:

Taylor Hackford

Writers:

Stephen King (book), Tony Gilroy (screenplay)
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Popularity
4,123 ( 255)
1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kathy Bates ... Dolores Claiborne
Jennifer Jason Leigh ... Selena St. George
Judy Parfitt ... Vera Donovan
Christopher Plummer ... Det. John Mackey
David Strathairn ... Joe St. George
Eric Bogosian ... Peter
John C. Reilly ... Const. Frank Stamshaw
Ellen Muth ... Young Selena
Bob Gunton ... Mr. Pease
Roy Cooper Roy Cooper ... Magistrate
Wayne Robson ... Sammy Marchant
Ruth Marshall ... Secretary
Weldon Allen Weldon Allen ... Bartender
Tom Gallant Tom Gallant ... Searcher
Kelly Burnett Kelly Burnett ... Jack Donovan
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Storyline

Dolores Claiborne works as a maid for a wealthy woman in remote Maine. When she is indicted for the elderly woman's murder, Dolores' daughter Selena returns from New York, where she has become a big-shot reporter. In the course of working out the details of what has happened, as well as some shady questions from the past and Selena's troubled childhood, many difficult truths are revealed about their family's domestic strife. This is cleverly portrayed with present reality shot in cool blue tones blending seamlessly into flashbacks shot in vivid color. As small town justice relentlessly grinds forward, surprises lie in store for the viewers.... Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They were separated by a death...and reunited by a murder. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and domestic abuse | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 March 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dolores See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,721,920, 26 March 1995

Gross USA:

$24,361,867

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$22,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In preparation for her role, Ellen Muth wrote in a journal as her character in the movie for weeks before shooting the film. See more »

Goofs

In several shots of Selena driving into town, the camera mounted to the hood of the car is reflected in her sunglasses. See more »

Quotes

Dolores Claiborne: It was just a bad patch.
Selena St. George: I had a fucking nervous breakdown, mother!
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Connections

Referenced in American Dad!: The Best Christmas Story Never (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Night in the Afternoon
Written by Hendrik Muerkens
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Excellent, underrated, Bates is brilliant
24 March 2005 | by fwmurnauSee all my reviews

Somehow this gripping, brilliantly-acted thriller was overlooked and underrated when it was first released in 1995, but it's probably the best movie ever made from a Stephen King story.

Kathy Bates has never been better. Her acting is so strong, deep, and subtle, it's outrageous that she wasn't even nominated for the Academy Award. I think it's because the film was released early in the year and was out of theatres already when the nominations were made. She's better here than about ten Oscar-winning actors I can think of, put together -- a one-woman textbook of how to act for the screen.

Bates won an Oscar for MISERY, but she's better here, because the story and the character are more interesting, complex and challenging. With flawless technique, and great depth of feeling, she delivers one of the finest screen performances of the 1990s.

Okay, the denouement's a bit strained, and there's a sprinkling of stilted, hokey lines (Stephen King was never good at writing believable dialogue, and his addition of forced scatology and cussing doesn't make it any less stilted.) But overall the complicated story, which flashes back and forth over a period of twenty years, is extremely well-told. The constant shifting from past to present is never confusing -- an achievement in itself!

This film never found its audience, somehow, and even some critics missed how good it was. I notice Maltin's book now raves over the film, giving it 3 1/2 stars, the same rating he gives to THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. The violence here is more psychological than bloody, but DOLORES is every bit as good a thriller as LAMBS, and Bates, quite frankly, can act circles around Jodie Foster.


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