April 7th 2009 02:15
Lolita (1997) is a tale of forbidden love, of carnal desire, of possession and obsession, of loneliness and the madness of unrequited love. It’s a modern tragedy and a brilliant movie, a rare example of a remake that is better than the original. Although I am very fond of Kubrick’s version, there is a poetic melancholy and an essence – both sensual and heartbreaking – that is evident in Adrian Lyne’s version that is diluted or missing in Kubrick’s original. Of course, Kubrick made his version in 1962, Lyne made his thirty-five years later. Still, Lyne suffered a lot of grief when his version was released, and in this even more sensitive climate (ten years on) of social networking sites and the proliferation of black market web porn, I doubt whether Lolita would be made with such high-profile stars and director.
Melanie Griffiths as Charlotte
Frank Langella as Quilty
Frank Langella as Quilty was inspired casting. His dulcet tones and physical presence, the cigar smoke and those linen suits. The confrontation between Quilty and Humbert is one of pure dark comedy, the tragedy momentarily offset by the absurdity of the situation. But most impressive of all is the performance of 15-year-old Dominique Swain as Dolores, or as Humbert describes; “Light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-tah.” The role was originally offered to a young Natalie Portman who turned it down. As good as Portman has become, I doubt she could’ve pulled off the same air of awkwardness, grace, petulance, and sexual mischievousness, as Swain did. Swain has never managed to reach anywhere near the same calibre of acting as she did in Lolita. It was, quite simply, perfect casting.
... Who reminds him of Annabel (Emma Griffiths Malin), his first love
Adrian Lyne’s Lolita has aged well, which has an ironic tinge. It’s a modern cult classic; a “nightmare” of the saddest kind.
Here's a teaser trailer:
Here's a deleted scene which captures the movie's comedy, drama, sensuality and awkwardness, but above all the excellent performances of the two leads:
subscribe to this blog