The Portrait of a Lady - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Portrait of a Lady Reviews

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Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
May 7, 2014
"The Portrait of a Lady" starts with Isabel Archer(Nicole Kidman) rejecting the proposal of the super wealthy Lord Warburton(Richard E. Grant). Next, it is Caspar Goodwood(Viggo Mortensen) who was reinserted into her path by Isabelle's supposed friend Henrietta(Mary-Louise Parker) only to be turned down. Seeing Isabelle's options disappear and fearing for her future, her cousin Ralph(Martin Donovan) comes up with an alternate plan that involves his dying father(John Gielgud).

"The Portrait of a Lady" is a beautifully rendered period piece. So, it might come as a surprise that director Jane Campion gets lost not so much in the details but in its retrograde politics and customs, using a modern day prologue to reinforce her questioning the choices that women make. On a different tact, Campion somehow manages to restrain her eclectic cast in order to not outshine the movie's supposed star and manages to only bring them down to Kidman's unresponsive level, and sucking some of the oxygen out of the room in the bargain.

Speaking of the eclectic cast, Mary-Louise Parker and John Malkovich(who has somehow never played Lenin) show up again in the "Red" films while Parker and Martin Donovan star again together in "Pipe Dream" and appearing together in the televsion series "Weeds."
iLeo
Super Reviewer
December 12, 2007
Fantastic!
shannylee38
Super Reviewer
December 20, 2006
Film not so good but Malkovich nailed it!
August 28, 2006
Intriguing & disturbing. Love Nicole Kidman as usual and John Malkovich is so very good at playing disturbing rolls.
½ October 29, 2012
I love The Piano and Nicole Kidman so I thought I would like this from Jane Campion, but I was disappointed.
May 26, 2008
I love Jane Campion & Nicole Kidman. What a dynamic duo. Yet, somehow this dreary movie fails entirely. Unfocused and abstract, it fails to astonish. Barbara Hershey was good...
½ September 24, 2007
A literary adaptation of exceeding intelligence, beauty and concentrated artistry, but one that remains emotionally remote and perhaps unavoidably problematic dramatically.
July 24, 2007
I did NOT get this movie. I understood the plot, but probably need to watch it again to see any artistry behind it. I felt it was too long, dispassinate and was strangely turn-offish at times. *like the talking lima bean sequence* The acting was rather cold and didn't seem to match what could have been a passionate story.
½ July 16, 2007
I found this movie to be quite boring at times. Some of the actors don't even have an English accent, and since it is an English movie I would think that it would be a nessecity to have one. The only thing I enjoyed besides Christian Bale ( that it took along time before he enter the movie) or the costumes.
June 17, 2007
I think I might be the only person who has seen this movie. I love the movie and the book. It is such a sad movie, but worth watching.
January 15, 2016
I don't remember the novel well enough to say if this was a good adaptation. I I found the movie interesting though drawn out, with some innovative filming bits in it.
March 20, 2015
well crafted & acted period pic.
January 4, 2015
WOW......WOW.....WOW.....SO SO SO SO SO BAD......MAN THIS IS SUCH AN AWFUL MESSY MESSY MOVIE 2 WATCH, IT IS SO SO SO SO DREADFUL, IT IS SUCH AN AWFUL MOVIE 2 WATCH, IT IS SO SO SO AWFUL MOVIE 2 WATCH, IT IS SO SO SO DREADFUL, IT IS SO SO SO DREADFUL, IT IS SUCH AN AWFUL MOVIE 2 WATCH IT IS SUCH AN AWFUL MESSY MOVIE 2 WATCH.......WARNING THIS MOVIE CONTAINS STROBE LIGHTNING EFFECTS THROUGHOUT THIS MOVIE......MAN THIS IS SUCH AN AWFUL MOVIE 2 WATCH, IT IS SUCH AN AWFUL MESSY MOVIE 2 WATCH, IT IS SUCH AN AWFUL MOVIE 2 WATCH, IT IS SUCH A BAD MOVIE 2 WATCH, JUST AVOID THIS MOVIE AT ALL IT IS SUCH A BAD MOVIE 2 WATCH, JUST AVOID THIS MOVIE AT ALL COSTS IT IS THAT BAD.....JUST DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE IT IS SO AWFUL.......ITS GOT A GOOD SOUNDTRACK THROUGHOUT THIS MOVIE.....BUT MAN THIS MOVIE IS SO SO SO AWFUL 2 WATCH....THE BEST THING ABOUT THIS MOVIE IS THE SOUNDTRACK, BUT MAN THIS IS SUCH AN AWFUL MOVIE 2 WATCH......
October 14, 2014
Slow and lacks energy.
½ June 24, 2014
It really seems like it should work, but it really doesn't.
May 24, 2014
A criminally underrated film that takes commending (and successful) risks in adapting a classic Henry James novel. The film's both heartbreaking and brilliantly acted / directed by Jane Campion, Nicole Kidman and Barbara Hershey. Really... An Incredible work that needs to be rescued and recontextualized from its original (botched) release by the now defunct Gramercy Pictures, a Polygram/Universal company. (Also check Wojciech Kilar's score: it's mindblowingly beautiful.)
½ June 7, 2011
I love well done Period Movies, Nicole is Lovely in this
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
May 7, 2014
"The Portrait of a Lady" starts with Isabel Archer(Nicole Kidman) rejecting the proposal of the super wealthy Lord Warburton(Richard E. Grant). Next, it is Caspar Goodwood(Viggo Mortensen) who was reinserted into her path by Isabelle's supposed friend Henrietta(Mary-Louise Parker) only to be turned down. Seeing Isabelle's options disappear and fearing for her future, her cousin Ralph(Martin Donovan) comes up with an alternate plan that involves his dying father(John Gielgud).

"The Portrait of a Lady" is a beautifully rendered period piece. So, it might come as a surprise that director Jane Campion gets lost not so much in the details but in its retrograde politics and customs, using a modern day prologue to reinforce her questioning the choices that women make. On a different tact, Campion somehow manages to restrain her eclectic cast in order to not outshine the movie's supposed star and manages to only bring them down to Kidman's unresponsive level, and sucking some of the oxygen out of the room in the bargain.

Speaking of the eclectic cast, Mary-Louise Parker and John Malkovich(who has somehow never played Lenin) show up again in the "Red" films while Parker and Martin Donovan star again together in "Pipe Dream" and appearing together in the televsion series "Weeds."
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