7.4/10
34,073
174 user 62 critic

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
4,753 ( 146)
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:

Sometimes, an accident can be an unhappy woman's best friend 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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kathy Bates' favorite movie role of her career. See more »

Goofs

The expression on Dolores's face when she sees Vera at the bottom of the stairs after her fall, between the first and second flashback. See more »

Quotes

Vera Donovan: [to Dolores, who is hanging her sheets to dry] Six pins, Dolores! Six pins, not five!
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Connections

Referenced in Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Night in the Afternoon
Written by Hendrik Muerkens
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Stephen King drama before he was really writing dramas.
3 November 2005 | by Anonymous_MaxineSee all my reviews

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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