6.3/10
10,121
68 user 63 critic

The Portrait of a Lady (1996)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 17 January 1997 (USA)
Trailer
2:11 | Trailer

Watch Now

With Prime Video

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 

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  

Ruth's been brainwashed by a guru in Delhi, India. Her parents in Sydney hire a specialist in reversing this. Ruth is tricked to return to Australia and is isolated in an outback cabin with the specialist. It gets messy.

Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Kate Winslet, Harvey Keitel, Julie Hamilton
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Bobby Platt (Christian Bale) is a mentally slow young man who escapes an abusive, hateful stepfather who has killed his pets one by one. To save himself, Bobby runs away and meets a strange... See full summary »

Director: Jeremy Thomas
Stars: John Hurt, Christian Bale, Daniel Benzali
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
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
Bright Star (2009)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The three-year romance between 19th-century poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne near the end of his life.

Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Abbie Cornish, Ben Whishaw, Paul Schneider
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
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

London of the late 19th century is a haven for political exiles of all sorts - refugees, partisans, anarchists. Verloc has made his living spying for the Russian government, an agent ... See full summary »

Director: Christopher Hampton
Stars: Bob Hoskins, Patricia Arquette, Gérard Depardieu
The Piano (1993)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A mute woman is sent to 1850s New Zealand along with her young daughter and prized piano for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, but is soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.

Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill
Flirting (1991)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two freethinking teenagers - a boy and a girl - confront with authoritarian teachers in their boarding schools. The other students treat this differently.

Director: John Duigan
Stars: Noah Taylor, Thandie Newton, Nicole Kidman
Malice (1993)
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A tale about a happily married couple who would like to have children. Tracy teaches art, Andy's a college dean. Things are never the same after she is taken to hospital and operated upon by Jed, a "know all" doctor.

Director: Harold Becker
Stars: Alec Baldwin, Nicole Kidman, Bill Pullman
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

The cast includes four Oscar winners: Nicole Kidman, Christian Bale, Sir John Gielgud, and Shelley Winters; and three Oscar nominees: John Malkovich, Barbara Hershey, and Viggo Mortensen. See more »

Goofs

(at around 47 mins) A horse carriage is passing through the shot from right to left. The crew with dolly-cam and equipment is clearly visible. See more »

Quotes

Isabel Archer: My cousin. He's dying. I must go to him.
Gilbert Osmond: Your cousin was dying when we married. He'll outlive us all.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In loving memory of J.E.C. See more »

Connections

Featured in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor ('Death & the Maiden')
(1824)
Composed by Franz Schubert
Adapted for screen by Brian Lock
Performed by The Brindisi Quartet
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.


20 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 68 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed