In early adolescence, Humbert fell hopelessly and tragically in love with a girl his own age, and, as he grew into adulthood, he never lost his obsession with "nymphets," teenagers who walk a fine line between being a girl and a woman. While looking for a place to live after securing a new teaching position, he meets Charlotte Haze (Melanie Griffith), a pretentious and annoying woman who seems desperately lonely and is obviously attracted to Humbert. Humbert pays her little mind until he meets her 13-year-old daughter Lolita (Dominique Swain), the image of the girl that Humbert once loved. Humbert moves into the Haze home as a boarder and eventually marries Charlotte in order to be closer to Lolita. When Charlotte finds out about Humbert's attraction to her daughter, she flees the house in a rage, only to be killed in an auto accident. Without telling Lolita of her mother's fate, Humbert takes her on a cross-country auto trip, where their relationship begins to move beyond the ...
Melanie Griffith plays the mother of Lolita, but in real life it was a young Melanie who went off with an older man. When she was just fourteen she fell in love with her mother's co-star (Don Johnson) and the two pursued a relationship. See more »
Charlotte threatens to "ground" Lolita. Though the term was known to airmen it would not assume its current familiar meaning for many years. See more »
She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks, she was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always - Lolita. Light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin. My soul.
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After the credits are over there is a brief clip where Lolita is shown juggling a red apple. See more »
Though Dawn Mauer was used as a body double for all nude scenes featuring Lolita (Dominique Swain), director Adrian Lyne bowed to public pressure and cut all of them from the film for its U.S. release. They reportedly exist in its original European release. See more »
Briefly put, this film is a quite brilliant adaptation of the novel. While staying pretty faithful to the original source, Stephen Schiff's screenplay fleshes out the primary characters and their relationship, which plays out as a taboo but reserved love story. Maintaining the central themes, the plot is reduced to the essence of the major players and the linear events of the book. It's almost impossible to adapt a long book into the confines of a single average-length movie, but Schiff captures most of the important moments quite well and humanizes the characters who could have come off as bizarre depictions from Humbert's narrative.
Lyne's movie is at once haunting, compelling, and beautifully photographed. For all the controversy, it is a mature, reflective, and subtle film. "Lolita" is a challenging piece of work that sublimely reflects the pathos of the story and manages to retain bits of the complex humor of Nabokov. This "Lolita" abandons the notion of being a complete social satire and works as an essentially dramatic portrayal of a doomed, inappropriate romance that is ultimately a sad, tragic tale.
The performances are remarkable, especially those of Jeremy Irons and Dominique Swain. Irons is utterly perfect as the ill-fated wretch, Humbert Humbert. So understated but evocative with every move and gesture, he is the definitive Old-World European whose obsession bristles beneath his timorous demeanor. He evokes an incredible amount of sympathy for the character. Swain delivers an on-target portrayal of the flowering nymphet who toys with her burgeoning sexuality but hasn't overcome her fundamental brattiness. Swain elicits both allure and pity as the wayward character whose immaturity in mindset and behavior does not excuse her complicity in her affairs. Despite what some critics may have written, Melanie Griffith is fine in the small role as Lolita's overbearing mother. She is comically obtuse, and her veneer hits all the right, grating notes. Frank Langella rounds out the cast as the mysterious Quilty. He is appropriately shady, vague, and sinister when he appears from time to time, slowly revealing himself.
This is a real winner on many levels and should be up for several awards including best picture, director, actor, actress, and adapted screenplay. Showtime should be congratulated for its smart acquisition. I hope the movie finds its way to the largest possible audience.
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