6.3/10
9,785
67 user 61 critic

The Portrait of a Lady (1996)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 17 January 1997 (USA)
Trailer
2:11 | Trailer
An American girl inherits a fortune and falls into a misguided relationship with a gentleman confidence artist whose true nature, including a barbed and covetous disposition, turns her life into a nightmare.

Director:

Jane Campion

Writers:

Henry James (novel), Laura Jones (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Emerald City (1988)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A couple move to Sydney from a small town, and soon become lured by the bright lights of the big city. Colin, the scriptwriter husband, is corrupted by his editor and then falls for his ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Jenkins
Stars: John Hargreaves, Nicole Kidman, Chris Haywood
Nightmaster (TV Movie 1987)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.7/10 X  

Steve Beck (Vince Martin) is a Karate instructor, Robby Mason (Tom Jennings) his prize student. Beck is using drugs to give him an edge. Guy Duncan (Craig Pearce) is Beck's drug connection ... See full summary »

Director: Mark Joffe
Stars: Tom Jennings, Nicole Kidman, Joanne Samuel
The Bit Part (1988)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

The story about a careers counselor who dreams of becoming a small-time actor.

Director: Brendan Maher
Stars: Chris Haywood, Nicole Kidman, Katrina Foster
Flirting (1991)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Danny has been sent to boarding school, in this sequel to The Year My Voice Broke. Against a backdrop of bullying and sadistic teachers Danny strikes up an affair with an African girl, ... See full summary »

Director: John Duigan
Stars: Noah Taylor, Thandie Newton, Nicole Kidman
Birthday Girl (2001)
Comedy | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A thirtysomething bank clerk from St Albans has his small-town life exploded by the arrival of his Russian mail-order bride.

Director: Jez Butterworth
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Vincent Cassel, Ben Chaplin
Sweetie (1989)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An introspective young woman's life is upturned by the arrival of her maladjusted sister.

Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Geneviève Lemon, Karen Colston, Tom Lycos
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Successful playwright Felix Webb has a new play, 'The Hit Man', in rehearsal. Directed by his old friend Humphrey, it is already being hailed as a masterpiece; but Felix can't enjoy his ... See full summary »

Director: John Duigan
Stars: Jon Bon Jovi, Anna Galiena, Lambert Wilson
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In 1920s and 1930s New Zealand, Janet Frame grows up in a poor family with lots of brothers and sisters. Already at an early age she is different from the other kids. She gets an education ... See full summary »

Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Kerry Fox, Alexia Keogh, Karen Fergusson
Holy Smoke (1999)
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

While on a journey of discovery in exotic India, beautiful young Ruth Barron falls under the influence of a charismatic religious guru. Her desperate parents then hire P.J. Waters, a macho ... See full summary »

Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Kate Winslet, Harvey Keitel, Julie Hamilton
Metroland (1997)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The sudden reappearance of his best friend Toni, after ten years absence, causes Chris to remember his past, to question some of his lifestyle decisions and to re-evaluate his life and marriage to Marion.

Director: Philip Saville
Stars: Christian Bale, Lee Ross, Emily Watson
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

In the year 1935, a teen named Billy Bathgate finds first love while becoming the protégé of fledgling gangster Dutch Schultz.

Director: Robert Benton
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Nicole Kidman, Loren Dean
Short | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman return home in a car from before 1966 (song from 1966) and spend Christmas together.

Director: Vaughan Arnell
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Robbie Williams
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicole Kidman ... Isabel Archer
John Malkovich ... Gilbert Osmond
Barbara Hershey ... Madame Serena Merle
Mary-Louise Parker ... Henrietta Stackpole
Martin Donovan ... Ralph Touchett
Shelley Winters ... Mrs. Touchett
Richard E. Grant ... Lord Warburton
Shelley Duvall ... Countess Gemini
Christian Bale ... Edward Rosier
Viggo Mortensen ... Caspar Goodwood
Valentina Cervi ... Pansy Osmond
John Gielgud ... Mr. Touchett
Roger Ashton-Griffiths ... Bob Bantling
Catherine Zago Catherine Zago ... Mother Superior
Alessandra Vanzi Alessandra Vanzi ... Nun #2
Edit

Storyline

Isabel Archer, an American heiress and free thinker travels to Europe to find herself. She tactfully rebuffs the advances of Caspar Goodwood, another American who has followed her to England. Her cousin, Ralph Touchett, wise but sickly becomes a soulmate of sorts for her. She makes an unfortunate alliance with the creepy Madame Merle who leads her to make an even more unfortunate alliance with Gilbert Osmond, a smooth but cold collector of Objets' de art who seduces her with an intense but unattainable sexuality. Isabel marries Osmond only to realize she's just another piece of art for his collection and that Madame Merle and Osmond are lovers who had hatched a diabolical scheme to take Isabel's fortune. Isabel's only comfort is the innocent daughter of Osmond, Pansy, but even that friendship is spoiled when Countess Gemini, Osmond's sister, reveals the child's true parentage. Isabel finally breaks free of Osmond and returns to Ralph's bedside, where, while breathing his last, they ... Written by Teresa B. <O'Donnell@worldnet.att.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature sensuality and some brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

17 January 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Retrato de una dama See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$134,805, 29 December 1996, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,692,836, 24 February 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Susan Sarandon was originally cast to play Madame Merle, but had to pull out when the shooting schedule was delayed and interfered with the beginning of her daughter's school year. Barbara Hershey played the role instead, and received her first Academy Award nomination for her performance. See more »

Goofs

When Isabel is attempting to retrieve her parasol from Mr. Osmond, all camera shots of her show the bow around her neck to her right. However, there is one camera shot that shows the bow to her left. See more »

Quotes

Ralph Touchett: And remember this, that if you've been hated, you're also been loved.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Jane Campion thanks her family, Colin, Alice and Richard, for their generous support, suggestions and encouragement during the making of this film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Deformed Monsters (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Die Fledermaus Quadrille, Op. 363
(1874)
Composed by Johann Strauss (as Johann Strauss II)
Adapted for screen by Brian Lock
Arrangement provided by Ludwig Doblinger (Bernhard Herzmansky) KG, Vienna
Performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Incomplete Portrait
31 May 2000 | by tedgSee all my reviews

I vacillate between preferring films that do a simple thing extremely well (Muppet Movie) or those that shoot high and fail. This film is the latter.

Campion has allied her aspirations with `women's' perspectives; honorable and rich enough. And she selects material ripe with possibilities. Clearly she has a vision, presumably extracted from the author's, but she fails to get on top of it.

Part of the problem is the simplification of the book for the screenplay. We just don't get enough foundation for the travesty of person we witness. A large part of the problem is Ms Kidman. She simply doesn't have the depth to pull this off, though she wears the clothes well. We never really see her supposed extraordinary spirit, and never really see how she's trapped by that very same spirit. Malkovich doesn't help. Here, he's too one-dimensionally a schemer.

Campion knows better than to throw in so many irrelevant film-school angles as a substitute for narrative reflection. This film is worth seeing as a study in how a spirited film maker is seduced by that very spirit into the superficialities of style, so is trapped. The ambiguous ending is, I think, Campion's limbo. Let's hope she escapes for her sake as well as ours. We need that spirit.


18 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 67 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed