"WOW...I won't go into any more detail than the previous reviewers did, as they have summed up my feelings too on this remarkable, underappreciated and underrated movie. Oscars should have gone to director Taylor Hackford, the cinematographer, Danny Elfman's haunting score, and the acting, oh my. Of course, Kathy Bates is overwhelming; Jennifer Jason Leigh has never been better; Christopher Plummer certainly sheds his "Sound of Music" persona; Judy Parfit is unbelievably effective as bitchy Vera, but her portrayal is so dimensional that we come to care for her; Ms. Parfit's scene with the pig musicbox playing "Happy Days Are Here Again" is brilliant. Also superb is Ellen Muth, who plays the young Selena, and John Reilly as the sheriff, who stands up to Plummer's state detective. Of course, one can't overlook David Straitharn as Dolores' cruel and abusive husband. His performance is so convincing that I don't think I'll like him in anything! My only regret is I didn't see this one earlier. Can we go back and do the 1995 Oscars over??
I loved this movie!!!! Stephen King should rank this and "The Green Mile" as his crowning adapted movies!"
An undiscovered classic
James Hiller | Beaverton, OR | 06/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nothing in the title of the film, or the premise, allows the watcher to be prepared for the virtual punch his powerhouse movie gives us. Led by much-deserving Oscar winner Kathy Bates and a sullen and moody Jennifer Jason Leigh, the cast brings to life several characters trapped in a story of denial, repression, and ultimately, the strength that women must have to endure life. This film has been overlooked by many people, including myself, for many reasons. Kathy Bates in another Stephen King story seemed to repetitive from her amazing performance in "Misery". But fair warning, she is not Nurse Annie here, but a completely amazing and hard woman who deals with the trauma in her life head on. I also didn't appreciate the magical artistry of this film until buying the DVD and listening to Taylor Hackford give his wordy and brilliant commentary to the film.I'm very glad to have purchased this DVD, and I feel you will as well!"
A finely crafted film indeed...
Sren Thomsen | Århus Denmark | 01/03/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Let me admit this: I have never read the book and I probably never will, as I am not much of a Stephen King fan. Therefore I may not have the same view on this film, as those of you who have.Dolores Claiborne, as a movie, is surprisingly well made. I have no doubt that this is Taylor Hackford's best film yet. I am especially impressed with the visual effects he used, during the flashbacks. He paints a vivid picture of the world of Dolores Claiborne: A world of sorrow and pain. He pulls the audience into this world and never lets go. Thus, he brings us through Dolores'life and make us feel her pain. Another great thing about this film, is the acting. Kathy Bate's is as usual brilliant. CAN she even mess up a single line? Jennifer Jason Leigh plays as she is supposed to;nothing more, nothing less. Which in itself should be considered a superb performance. And I was also really pleased by the remarkable performance of Judy Parfitt, the actress who plays Vera. Truly a great portrayl of a women who is as hurt and angry as Dolores. The scene in which she reveals her deepest, darkest secret to Dolores (you who have seen the film will know what I am talking about) is truly one of the best scenes from a movie the last 20 years! She should have gotten an Oscar! Plummer, as detective Mackey is also extremely good. Especially in the finale of the film. Very intense!However, I feel there is one element of this film that so far has been largely overlooked by the other reviewers: Danny Elfman's superb score. Indeed, this score should be considered one of the finest EVER. Right up there with Herrmann's PSYCHO and Steiner's KING KONG. And I seriously mean that. Elfman's music is, perhaps more than any other element of the film, that which creates the painfull, sadly mysterious atmosphere of this movie. He uses an orchestra largely consistning of strings with added piano etc. and hereby creates a cold, stark sound which is as harsh as our lead character. Yet, he also gives us a score filled with emotion and pain, a score which makes the audience (whether consiously or subconsiously) more involved in the story and makes us feel closely connected to the characters. He creates a tention, that to this day has never been mached in any other score before or since. Still, Dolores Claiborne is not perfect (Which film is?). The script could have been fairly better penned, especially the inquest scene where Dolores is being questioned.But overall, this is a finely crated film, which has a lot to offer in the visual department, the acting and especially the score. Well done Taylor Hacford and Danny Elfman!"
Sometimes Being A B!tch Is All A Woman Has To Hang On To...
Sheila Chilcote-Collins | Collinswood, Van Wert, OH USA | 06/28/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Stephen King's 1992 novel comes to life with a truly great perfomance by Kathy Bates as the title character, Dolores Claiborne, David Straitharn as her deceased husband Joe St. George and Jennifer Jason Leigh as their prescription pill popping progeny, Selena St. George. This film and novel are from King's writing period of evil, not examined through supernatural forces, but like "Gerald's Game" and "Misery", the evil that human beings do to other human beings. Even their own flesh and blood...The film opens with a fall down the stairs by Vera Donovan (Judy Parfitt, Dolores' employer and wench of a woman, a marble rolling pin a dead body and a mailman who reports the "goings on" to the local police detective, John Mackey, played by Christopher Plummer.Dolores is hauled in for the murder of her employer but we soon find out that this isn't the first time Dolores has been in trouble with the law! Her husband died of unknown causes during the solar eclipse of 1975 and many islanders think that Dolores had something to do with the death of her abusive husband.The movie succession is filmed in many flashback sequences through the mind's eye of Dolores that are just quite mesmerizing! Great cinematography and direction in this film, no doubt!Did Dolores kill her husband twenty years ago? Did she also murder her badgering b!tch of a boss, Vera Donovan? What family secrets are hidden and what will be the outcome of Dolores and her daughter, Selena?Watch the film and find out for yourself!Happy Watching!"
Bates is Best!
Mount_Olympus | above the delicatessan | 03/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Geez,this is undoubtedly one of the best modern films I have ever seen, and I am one picky bugger. Bates outdoes herself as Claiborne, surpassing her role as Wilkes in "Misery". Critics have said Bates was trying to cash in on the success of Misery by playing Dolores Claiborne,what are they thinking. This film and its characters have so much depth and detail it just can't be compared to another work. The direction and cinematography are hauntingly beautiful,a mood is set in this film rarely tapped into just by the scenery. Set in Maine, the dark and moody tale by the ocean suits the script, spooky. This is a much overlooked and underappreciated film which I would rank Masterpiece. It intriques the viewer and sends chills without gore. Just a good old plain fashion murder mystery, Hollywood should sit up and take note off this work, that a film can be superior without special effects, all it needs is a good script and Kathy Bates..."