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>
During the flashback scene in the kitchen which culminates with Joe hitting Dolores across the back, the thickness of the roll of kitchen paper hanging underneath the cupboard behind Dolores changes drastically at one point. See more »
A Stephen King drama before he was really writing dramas.
It was so many years ago that I read Dolores Claiborne that I don't remember how closely the movie follows the book, but I've found that Stephen King movies in general are pretty faithful to the original material, and I'm sure that this one is no exception. Released at a time when a drama, even a dramatic thriller, coming from Stephen King would be known more for being a drama from the master of horror than anything else, Dolores Claiborne is still a surprisingly capable legal thriller with a remarkably intricate story.
Dolores Claiborne is an unskilled housewife living in Maine with her abusive husband and abused daughter, and things get progressively worse until she finds herself with an sexually abused daughter and a dead husband on her hands. The indictment for the murder of her husband doesn't stand in court, and years later she is again faced with the capital charge as the woman that she has been working for as a maid for so many years falls or is thrown down the stairs of her house to her death, and it's up to the town's Detective, played brilliantly by Christopher Plummer, to prove that it was not an accident. Oh no, not an accident at all. Detective Mackey (Plummer), let Dolores get away once and damned if that nonsense was going to happen again.
Unfortunately, Jennifer Jason Leigh, a genuinely gifted actor, is saddled with a part that forces her to play within the confines of a tortured soul, making her performance come off as forced and unconvincing, meanwhile Kathy Bates once again fills the screen with her powerful presence, delivering what has to be one of her best performances.
The story takes place in cold Maine weather that is so effective that it almost makes you want to put a jacket on, and in a house that is so gray and lifeless and empty that after watching the movie I had to go to the supermarket and buy a steak. That may not make sense, but here's something that does, the characters in this movie are so well rounded that it almost seems like a documentary. Definitely worth checking out, even if you're living so far in the past that you still rent from Hollywood Video and pay their late fees. Don't miss this one!
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