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The Portrait of a Lady Reviews

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iLeo
iLeo

Super Reviewer

December 12, 2007
Fantastic!
shannylee38
shannylee38

Super Reviewer

December 20, 2006
Film not so good but Malkovich nailed it!
moviegirl50
August 28, 2006
Intriguing & disturbing. Love Nicole Kidman as usual and John Malkovich is so very good at playing disturbing rolls.
October 29, 2012
I love The Piano and Nicole Kidman so I thought I would like this from Jane Campion, but I was disappointed.
StaisilD
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.
April 10, 2014
Boring and pretentious.
March 19, 2013
Another recent TV broadcast. I loved this one. Nicole Kidman excels here, as usual. I had some reservations about John Malkovich typecast as an amoral villain, but the story is so resonant and the direction, script, photography and acting are great. Unlike 'The Last Station' this actually feels like a proper story and not just a bunch of actors going through their paces. Thank you, Henry James.
October 19, 2012
Well-acted adaptation of James, but not Campion at her most inventive.
March 24, 2012
I give this 8.7/10. The acting is superb, the cinematography is poignant and the music is beautiful. The script, however, is a little bit problematic for its overlong, but somehow, not so enlightening portrayals of its characters.
Shy Hallaman
January 9, 2011
Emancipada, feminista, madura, dona de uma mentalidade progressista para sua época e - como não poderia deixar de ser - linda e rica, Isabel Archer (Kidman) coleciona um considerável número de pretendentes apaixonados, a cujos sinceros apelos não cede. Qual não é o espanto do público ao testemunhá-la cair na teia de interesses do manipulador Gilbert Osmond (John Malkovich).

Uma sombria aura melancólica orbita os personagens, emanada da decepção de amores não correspondidos, traições afetivas, divisão interior entre fidelidade a ideais próprios e as tentações que surgem pelo caminho.

Mesmo despida do lirismo trágico de O Piano, Campion reforça sua visão particular sobre tramas aparentemente esgotadas.
EnglishCrumpet
November 24, 2010
It's typical period fare, but thanks to some fine performances and a subtle directorial hand, The Portrait of a Lady ranks higher than many of its bodice-ripping counterparts.

Strong female characters are a real standout in this tale of tactical marriage and the search for a soul mate. In particular Nicole Kidman leads the cast with an impressive turn as Isabel Archer, a wealthy heiress looking for love. Similarly Barbara Hershey delivers her sole Oscar nominated performance as Madame Merle. The genius of her performance is not revealed until well into the second half of the film, when her character's true colours are revealed and Hershey proves entirely worthy of the acclaim she received.

A strong male ensemble is also worth mentioning. Young Christian Bale continues to rise through the ranks from child star to serious actor with a decent showing, while the likes of Richard E. Grant and Viggo Mortensen flesh out the sideline characters admirably. However it is John Malkovich who shines brightest as Gilbert Osmond, a rather heartless character who seduces Isabel into marrying him. Malkovich remains as present as ever in his performance but it's for that reason that so many people love him. Similar roles in Dangerous Liaisons and Man In The Iron Mask have shown that his unique style translates well to period pieces, so it's not a surprise that his familiar routine works well this time too.

Director Jane Campion deals commendably with the material, capturing a sexual tension that runs throughout the film and only comes to the fore on specific occasions. Her handling of the underlying gender themes is also estimable as she keeps it all bubbling under, never allowing it to overshadow the characters themselves. However there are some clear pacing issues that a firmer hand in the editing room could have helped, as the film does drag terribly at times, and at 144 minutes it has a tendency to feel a little repetitive.

Overall it's a decent showing for the period genre, with sumptuous costumes and prickly dialogue, but if you're not a fan already there's really nothing here that's going to convert you.
Charles Brecht
August 13, 2010
Okay, so life was EXTREMELY BORING in the 18th century. That could have been explained in 10 minutes. Why oh why make us sit through 2:23 hours of absolute drudgery? This movie never starts, it justs blunders on from one over-stylized scene to the next ... until it finally blunders to an end ... finally!
Alfod
April 12, 2004
Best in Show: Nicole Kidman
One for the future: Martin Donovan
Stand-out scene: Ralph Touchett's deathbed scene
Brainer or no-brainer: Brainer
Stands up to one viewing or repeated?: Repeated
DVD commentary any good?: n/a

VIDEO
What an extraordinary chameleonic actress Nicole Kidman is - here she gives another stunning performance of depth and resonance as proto feminist Isabel Archer. That she made this film between the by numbers Batman Forever and The Peacemaker, just on the cusp of when her career really took off makes it all the more incredible. Archer is an intelligent heart-breaker who defies the dictates of her era and refuses a series of marriage proposals in favour of a self-enriching tour around Europe. I did find it pretty incredible though that any woman with a pulse would favour John Malkovich over Viggo Mortensen, even with a silly floppy flick. When she comes into some money she is cuckolded into marrying the cold-hearted gold-digger Gilbert Osmond (Malkovich). Instead of being worshipped by Osmond he uses her as a mere tool to set his daughter up with a wealthy Lord she herself had rejected whilst living in England. Fine supporting performances from the likes of Barbara Hershey, Shelley Duvall, Christian Bale, Richard E. Grant, Mary Louise Parker and Sir John Geilgud add to the enjoyment that can be gleaned from this sometimes slow but ultimately rewarding movie. Jane Campion's eye for unusual touches (here she uses a cinema veritie style to represent Archer's travels) always means she's a director whose work is worth watching (Sweetie is an excellent movie) and watching repeatedly.
Thurman
March 11, 2004
So underrated!
Really good!
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