Lover's Prayer is a sweeping tale of an innocent rich boy's (Nick Stahl) infatuation with a beautiful young woman (Kirsten Dunst) who is summering next door. He quickly abandons toys and pastimes for the thrill of her sedu... more »ctive ways. But when he is finally confronted with who she really is and the tangled web she has spun, he is forced to become a man and understand that the world is more complicated than he ever suspected.« less
"I learned a valuable lesson this weekend: a good actor is not enough to save a bad movie. Following the success of Bring It On, there are a couple new releases featuring the formerly pint-sized vixin vampire. I suggest you avoid this one. Lover's Prayer is an adaptation of two Russian stories, "First Love," by Ivan Turgenev, and "The Peasant Woman," by Anton Chekhov. I am utterly confused as to why these two stories were thrown together. The story of the peasant woman is abandoned mid-way through the film, and it did not add anything to the plot or purpose of the film. The main story involves the twisted relationship between Vladimir (Nick Stahl) and Zinaida (Dunst). Zinaida moves into the house next door and proceeds to get all of the much older men in town to fall at her feet. She repeatedly bemoans the boyishness of Vladimir, despite the fact that she appears to be the exact same age. In general, Dunst is just too young for this role. All the older men fawning over her is borderline disgusting because they seem like pedophiles. Throughout the film you have no idea as to what motivates Zinaida. When you finally learn the identity of her lover, you are left with a distinct feeling of, "What? What's going on? How did this happen?" There is no explanation as to why she chose the lover she did, the viewer is just supposed to accept spoon-fed plot developments that have no link to the characters and no broad implications to the story. If there is supposed to be an insight into the plight of Russian women, this film fails miserably. The film would have been powerful if the viewer were given an insight into the inner sufferings of Zinaida. There was potential to show the relationship between Zinaida and her mother, the pressures of social status, and the seduction of a young woman. All of this potential is wasted on a disjointed, pointless, jumble of costumed gobbledy-gook. Avoid at all cost!"
Too Superficial Adaptaion of Turgenev's Classic Novella
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 04/18/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This film credits as its source two Russian stories -- Ivan Turgenev's "First Love" and Anton Chekhov's "The Peasant Women" -- but the basic plot is based on the first one, a classic novella about a young boy Vladimir, who suffers growing pains during the short summer vacation in Russian countryside. The second story by Chekhov is used as a sub-plot about a man and woman and their illicit love.Nick Stahl is Vladimir Petrovich, taking summer vacation with his parents in sunny Russian countryhouse, and to their neighborhood comes a girl Zinaida "Princess" Zasyekin and her mother. Vladimir instantly falls in love with this capricious girl, much elder than him, and starts to haunt the house where her mother, apparently down-at-heel, lives. The girl's innocent, comical flirt with other suitors, including Count and Doctor. continues until the day when Zinaida, Vladimir finds out, really falls in love with someone he doesn't know. But who is he? And what should he do?The book's story about tormented love, which poisons the young heart, is barely visible in the film, but the result is simply deplorable, because of its too superficial treatment of the subject. The identity of the lover looks too abruptly revealed, that is one problem, but more annoying is that we are not convinced of the relations between these people. The book tells us about the tacit understanding and compassion between Vladimir and his father, but as the film fails to deliver that part, some of the viewers would not understand the painful experience of Vladimir at the end of the story. As to actors, Nick Stahl cannot hold the center of our attention, lacking the emotional power those young boys of 16 yeads old should have, and Kirsten Dunst, despite her best efforts, is miscast as a Russian beauty who changes the life of males surrounding her. And when Julie Walters ("Billy Elliot" "Educating Rita" and Harry Potter series as Ron's mother) looks very irritating as old Princess, being too vulgar and noisy for the part, you can tell there is something wrong with the picture.I think that the mishmash cast should be blamed -- some American, some British, all cast as Russian -- but more unaccountable decision is inclusion of Chekhov story. Well, the point may be that the sub-plot should introduce a broader scope of viewpoint into this rather simple story of Turgenev. One about aristocratic people, one working class people, both about doomed love. The idea is all right, but as other reviewers rightly say, the second story looks too ineffective and too short (it consists of only about 20 minutes), lacking the sense of closure. The original Chekhov story offers more to tell, but what is more important is that it looks too banal, stripped of the original's atomospheric descriptions.I tried to like this, and there are some merits, I can say. The photography is beautiful, and costumes and production designs are done decently. But the film shows no finesse for conveying the subtle touch of the book about the lost dreams and youth, and the film's changed ending is too awful. Zinaida would not say that."
Just an era
E. swindle | MISSISSIPPI | 12/04/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I liked the movie for the music and the costumes, I thought they were all great and nick stahl looked handsome as ever. As to the steaming pot and to answer some of the other reviewers answers about it. I think it had something to do with the cleansing of the well you know..........also it has been know to make the inside of a women.......hotter than normal temperature. I hope this helps any. I read a few historical novels and I had run across something like that."
Sasha | Central Valley, CA | 10/14/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I am a fan of Kirsten Dunst but this certainly isn't one of her better movies. I wouldn't say this movie is terrible, it just isn't all that great. This is one of those movies you watch once and that is about it."
Read the books, otherwise, this movie will be confusing
Kaatiya | Atlanta, Georgia United States | 02/28/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The previous reviewers expressed confusion over the plot. If you've never read the books on which the film was based, you'd definitely be confused. I've read both and, still, there were parts that were confusing--like the part the previous reviewer mentioned concerning what Zinaida was doing with the steaming pot when he saw her and his father through the window. Very odd! This was NOT in either of the books!Despite the confusion, the movie was okay enough. Certainly not the best movie ever made, and they DID abandon the "peasant" plot midway through, which, was indeed bizzare as well. I saw the movie on TV for free. Probably wouldn't buy it."