Lolita (1997) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • An English professor falls for a minor , and has to face the consequences of his actions.

  • 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 traditional boundaries of stepfather and step-daughter..

  • Humbert Humbert, a British professor coming to the US to teach, rents a room in Charlotte Haze's house, but only after he sees her 14-year-old daughter, Dolores (Lolita), to whom he is immediately attracted. Though he hates the mother, he marries her as this is the only way to be close to the girl, who will prove to be too mature for her age. They start a journey together, trying to hide they're not just (step)father and daughter, throughout the country, being followed by someone whom Humbert first suspects to be from the police. The profound jealousy, and maybe some guilt from the forbidden love, seem slowly to drive the man emotionally labile.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Set in the 1950's USA - 'Lolita' is the prison memoir of a European Professor, Humbert Humbert (Jeremy Irons). Haunted by the death of his first love when he was just a youth, he has been unable to overcome his infatuation with young girls (what he calls 'Nymphets') Now middle-aged, Humbert moves to America and takes up residence with a friend of a friend, Charlotte Haze (Melanie Griffith). Upon his arrival to her home he soon discovers that she has a 13 year old daughter named Dolores (Dominique Swain). He becomes infatuated with her immediately. Not too soon after his arrival Charlotte sends Dolores to a summer camp. While Dolores is at camp Charlotte confesses her love for Humbert, although he has no interest in her he decides to marry her as he sees it as a way of getting closer to Lolita (this is a pet-name that he gave Dolores). Charlotte then discovers a journal that Humbert has kept detailing his true feelings for her and Lolita; in an emotional fit Charlotte runs from the house and gets killed by a car.

    Humbert then heads to the summer camp and retrieves Lolita, he tells her that her mother is ill as his reasoning for getting her. They then embark on a road tip across the country, forming a romantic yet turbulent relationship along the way. He finally admits to Lolita that her mother is dead, she is heart broken by the news but they continue on their journey. They finally settle into a home and Lolita is enlisted into school. It does not last long and they decide to head on another road trip. While traveling Humbert discovers that they are being followed, becoming increasingly paranoid he attempts to discover who it is but it is to no avail.

    One day Lolita becomes ill so is admitted to the hospital. The next morning Humbert discovers that someone posing as her uncle took her away. Distraught, Humbert tries to track them down, he stays on their tail for some time but eventually loses them. 3 years later he receives a letter from Lolita telling him that she is married and pregnant and is in need of money. Humbert visits her with the intention of killing her husband, he realizes once he's there that her husband is not the man the stole her from him. He gets her to admit that it was Quilty (Frank Langella) a playwright from the school she attended. He pleas for her to join him once again and to be with him but she refuses. He leaves Lolita and heads directly to Quiltys home to murder him. After a confrontation Humbert shoots Quilty several times killing him. The movie ends with Humbert swerving down the road in an emotionally destroyed state of being with the police on his trail.

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