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The Rachel Papers
The Rachel Papers
Actors: Dexter Fletcher, Ione Skye, Jonathan Pryce, James Spader, Bill Paterson
Director: Damian Harris
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
R     2003     1hr 35min

Computer geeks usually don't get the girls but imagine how things would change if a computer program could help! This "amusing, sharply acted" (Variety) teen comedy follows a young genius as he allows his raging hormones, ...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Dexter Fletcher, Ione Skye, Jonathan Pryce, James Spader, Bill Paterson
Director: Damian Harris
Creators: Damian Harris, Andrew S. Karsch, Eric Fellner, James T. Roe III, Paul Raphael, Scott Millaney, Martin Amis
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Romantic Comedies, Love & Romance
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/05/2003
Original Release Date: 05/12/1989
Theatrical Release Date: 05/12/1989
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 35min
Screens: Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Movie Reviews

Daniel Bush | Arizona | 09/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'm 39 and STILL love this movie. Saw it first while in my 20's and this is still one of my favorite movies of all time!! Ione Skye is stunning in this movie - you definitely won't be disappointed!! Saw her recently in a television show about the FBI and she doesn't look NEARLY as good as she did in this movie. Her personality was also very good in this movie. James Spader is pretty good too. Sad to say, I STILL can't find a copy of the soundtrack, which is GREAT!!"
An Extra Star For the Skye
D. Cross | Hollywood, CA USA | 10/03/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This is quite a 2-Star movie. The extra star is for all the nude scenes with Ione Skye. If that's what you're after, then rent this one. I wish I'd seen this when I was 13 and all the American movies with Skye were teases. This one pays off."
The Amis Papers
C. CRADDOCK | Bakersfield | 08/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Rachel Papers was culled from the thinnly veiled autobigraphical first novel of Martin Amis published in 1973, and subsequently made into a film in 1989. The protagonist, and therefore an ego projection of Martin Amis, is Charles Highway. Portraying Highway in the film was Dexter Fletcher, who looks exactly as he sounds: mouth-wise he's a mite Jaggeresque. Perhaps more like a cross between Mick J. and Don Knotts, eyes slightly abulge as if he was one of the rubber dolls they sell at the fair whose eyes bulge out when you squeeze 'em.

He makes a surprisingly sympathetic underdog in his quest for the eponymous Rachel. Though he uses a Commodore Amiga A500 computer (which is what is Pong to Grand Theft Auto III?) he types surprisingly sophisticated schemes on how to conduct his conquest of the Holy Grail of Rachel. Each chance encounter is strictly choreographed, each move blocked out. The scenery is set, magazines and poetry laid out as if he actually read them, rather than was merely projecting a persona. A whole plethora of personality is put on for the show. Here is an example of what he is typing so intensely on his Amiga:

Charles Highway: Now, I'm surprisingly ineffective on the telephone so I find there are four basic requirements I need on making the first call.
Number 1: visual stimulants. Number 2: other stimulants.
Number 3: mood music. And, most importantly,
number 4: a tight and effective working script.

Making young Mr. Fletcher's task of appearing enthralled infinitely easier is the the enticing enchantress, Ione Skye. Daughter of Scottish crooner Donovan, she has carved out a career in her own right as an actress. Here, she manages to look both beautiful and intelligent. The most difficult part of Ione's job was to appear entrhalled with Dexter Fletcher's Highway. That she not only believably chose him over her other suitor, Deforest (James Spader) but also was able to recite the poetry of her favorite poet, John Dunne was an acting tour de force. If I had a private conversation with God I would have begged him to create her. Still she can't escape her father's shadow completely. Ione appears in David Fincher's "Zodiac" for which the recurrent theme music is her father (Donovan)'s song "Hurdy Gurdy Man".

I must make mention of James Spader once more. His character, Deforest, nemesis of Highway, always foiling his schemes, is a small but seminal role. Spader is always ahead of the pack, giving his off beat characters always just the proper amount of twist.

Also worthy of mention is Jonnathan Pryce, who portrays brother-in-law Norman. He is a long haired lout, crude and brutish even, but not such a bad brother-in-law when the chips are down.

In summary, this film is an unexpected gem. Though it is sometimes tough to understand the thick British accents, those accents add immeasurably to The Rachel Paper's rogueish charm. Dexter's mug turns out to be quite a watchable face. Fletcher's course features exaggerate his emotions, like clown makeup applied with broad strokes, so even those shmoes seated in the back rows get a good gander at what he's a' thinkin'. Sometimes he addresses the camera directly a la Ferris Beuhler. Other times there is just a faint glimmer of a wink to tear down the fourth wall. Either way, it's a gimmick, but it's a gimmick that seldom fails. In some ways the film is a self-made seminar on seduction. You want to see just how far our amourous swain can take his limited charm and raffish looks.

Actually, I started to warm up to this film when he had me with Burt Bacharah's "This Guy's In Love With You." Even though DeForest suddenly burst in and trampled on the dream, there it was: my ultimate fantasy laid bare. I always wanted to serenade my true love with that little number. That is my own true wish, right up there with singing "Volare" at an Italian wedding in Milan, Venice, or Tuscany, while wearing an Italian suit and sunglasses, holding a glass of chablis.


The Rachel Papers (1973) (first novel of Martin Amis)


Crash (1996/I) .... James Ballard
sex, lies, and videotape (1989) .... Graham Dalton
Secretary (2002) .... Mr. Grey


Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) .... James Lingk
Brazil (1985) .... Sam Lowry


Zodiac (2007/I) (uncredited) .... Kathleen Johns
Dream For an Insomniac (1996) .... Frankie
The Size of Watermelons (1996) .... Maggie
Wayne's World (1992) .... Elyse
Say Anything (1989) .... Diane Court
A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon (1988) .... Denise Hunter
River's Edge (1986) (as Ione Skye Leitch) .... Clarissa

Charles Highway: I notice you don't have a drink.
Rachel Noyce: Are you giving this party?
Charles Highway: Certainly not. Parties of this kind are not given, they're received."
Rachel Porter | SAV, GA, USA | 11/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The book that this movie is based on, made me fall in love with modern Englishmen. And the movie is just wonderful and so enjoyable."