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Dolores Claiborne

7/10
Mystery . Drama . Thriller . Crime
 

Selena is a big-shot reporter in the city who has long distanced herself from her roots in a small town in Maine. She finds herself compelled to return, however, after her mother is accused of murdering the wealthy woman for whom she worked as a maid. Selena has a very bad relationship with her mother, and their visit is incredibly tense, particularly since she strongly suspects that her mother is guilty. As the days go by, however, Selena's investigative skills lead her to some surprising revelations about her own past and her mother's motivations. While Dolores may be a hard woman, she did not become so overnight. As she learns more about what has contributed to the make-up of her mother's armor, her own dissipates

 
Actors: Kathy Bates , Jennifer Jason Leigh , Judy Parfitt , Christopher Plummer , John C. Reilly , David Strathairn , Eric Bogosian , Ellen Muth , Bob Gunton
Directors: Taylor Hackford
Country: USA
Release: 1995-03-24
More Info:
  • Richard Schickel

    The sensible formality of Taylor Hackford's direction has the effect of cooling the film's narrative frenzies and helping the actors dig some simple, truthful stuff out of the hubbub.

    Time Full Review
  • Desson Thomson

    The movie is given unusually wide dimension by director Taylor Hackford, who creates a subtly scary drama that emphasizes character over caricature (in most cases) and plausibility over formulaic stupidity (again, in most cases).

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Jonathan Rosenbaum

    Although most of the elements are familiar and virtually all of the characters are unpleasant, this is a better than average melodrama--mainly because of the volcanic power of Kathy Bates in the title role.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    It's sometimes distracting to tell a story in flashbacks and memories; the story line gets sidetracked. The director, Taylor Hackford, is successful, however, in making the present seem to flow into and out of the past.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    The mysteries of Dolores Claiborne are never gripping enough to consume an audience, and there are few, if any, surprises along the way. But the women are wonderful and reason enough to see the picture.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Barbara Shulgasser

    All the performances are good, the script is subtle and waste-free and Danny Elfman's score is evocative and appropriate, but the direction is what gives the movie its sweep.

    San Francisco Examiner Full Review
  • Staff(Not Credited)

    Kathy Bates, so memorably creepy in "Misery", delivers what may be 1995's most underrated performance in this implicitly feminist melodrama.

    TV Guide Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    Although the forced ending, which seems deigned to create an unnatural moment of triumph, weakens the climactic catharsis, it doesn't diminish the naked honesty which forms the foundation of Dolores Claiborne.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • David Sterritt

    Kathy Bates gives her most gripping performance since "Misery," also based on a Stephen King thriller. The picture is weakened by a rambling and inconsistent screenplay.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Janet Maslin

    Written as a book-length harangue from its heroine's point of view, and directed efficiently by Taylor Hackford, Dolores Claiborne has become a vivid film that revolves around Ms. Bates's powerhouse of a performance.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    Deftly cutting between the past and the present, director Taylor Hackford manages to establish a compelling mood and pace even though the pic lacks a thriller's true "Aha!" moment

    Variety Full Review
  • Hal Hinson

    Taylor Hackford's film version of the Stephen King novel, has a whopping list of shortcomings -- and yet it still manages to be an engrossing, unsettling and, at times, powerful psychological thriller.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Angie Errigo

    Despite superb performances by Kathy Bates and Jennifer Jason Leigh, a limp, almost TV movie trite, climax never comes near delivering the shocks it should. A shame, as what could have been superb, is merely average.

    Empire Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    Director Taylor Hackford brings an appropriate level of pulpy energy to the telling, and star Kathy Bates... gives a better performance than the film deserves as the grumpy and possibly homicidal title character.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Despite Bates' mastery at bringing unexpected depth to unhinged characters, Dolores is a few pints low on chills and challenge.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Rick Groen

    Although director Taylor Hackford ("An Officer and a Gentleman") handles the usually cumbersome flashbacks with impressive delicacy, he can't stop the narrative from sinking under its own melodramatic weight.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Marc Savlov

    Second-guessing the audience in the third act takes some of the wind out of his sails (the film wraps up the loose ends so tightly you can practically see the bow), but Hackford does his best with a King tale that many thought would be unfilmable.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Terrence Rafferty

    The story moves forward smoothly, but the pace is too even and the course is predictable.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Owen Gleiberman

    Since there is a mystery, the movie might have been entertaining camp had director Taylor Hackford staged it with pace, style, or a whisper of surprise. Instead, the plot just clunks forward-for two hours and 10 minutes.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
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  • child abuse

  • detective

  • based on novel

  • bar

  • island

  • suspicion of murder

  • childhood memory

  • fall from staircase

  • ax

  • christmas tree

  • murder

  • suspense

  • dysfunctional family

  • character name in title

  • domestic violence

  • reporter

  • maid

  • anger

  • alcoholic

  • stephen king

  • cameo

  • child molestation

  • audio cassette

  • well

  • docks

  • accident

  • abusive father

  • abusive husband

  • anti depressant

  • bangor maine

  • bank account

  • bossa nova

  • bad father

  • flashback

  • maine

  • strong female character

  • strong female lead

  • woman wearing glasses

  • man wearing glasses

  • watching television

  • two word title

  • psychopath

  • sadistic psychopath

  • female protagonist

  • bad mother

  • drunkard

  • marina

  • interrogation

  • police station

  • job interview

  • ferry boat

  • editor

  • writer

  • judge

  • lawn party

  • music band

  • pedophile

  • reputation

  • last will and testament

  • pills

  • axe

  • violence

  • split pants

  • memory

  • rural setting

  • father daughter relationship

  • nervous breakdown

  • fax transmission

  • hair

  • employer employee relationship

  • husband wife relationship

  • murder suspect

  • bangor maine

  • mother versus daughter

  • sex

  • winch

  • suicide

  • state police

  • solar eclipse

  • scotch

  • rolling pin

  • religious medal

  • prescription drugs

  • murder investigation

  • mooning

  • male chauvinism

  • mailman

  • magazine editor

  • invalid

  • inspector

  • housekeeper

  • ferry

  • falling to death

  • falling down stairs

  • falling down a shaft

  • eye witness

  • anti depressant

  • mother daughter estrangement

  • based on the works of stephen king

  • false accusation

  • writing

  • sexual abuse

  • molestation

  • marriage

  • dysfunctional marriage

  • investigation

  • terror

  • eclipse

  • incest

  • mother daughter relationship

  • small community

  • title spoken by character

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