Author E.L. Doctorow's acclaimed short story Jolene: A Life gets the big screen treatment in Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont's director Dan Ireland's independent drama about life on the road. Jolene (Jessica Chastain) is a red-haired wanderer who isn't content to call one place home for any expended stretch of time. Setting off to explore the outside world at age fifteen, the free-spirited teen embarks on a decade-long cross-country of adventure which finds her crossing the paths of everyone from a firebrand Texan (Dermont Mulroney) who steals her heart and destroys her marriage to his wealthy fundamentalist nephew (Michael Vartan), to an ex-mobster (Chazz Palminteri) attempting to make good in Las Vegas. Denise Richards, Rupert Friend, and Theresa Russell co-star in a film adapted from the story by screenwriter Dennis Yares. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Jolene
More epic than it needs to be and less profound than it should be, "Jolene" remains a watchable excursion into human frailty and foibles.
Chastain proves near-heroic embodying Jolene's innate strength and incremental wisdom. Yet she also makes us understand how the heroine's wobbly resistance to manipulative characters is overwhelmed time and again.
So bad it's almost (but not quite) good, Dan Ireland's Jolene is an unusually elaborate and excruciatingly long vanity production...
Ms. Chastain digs deep. Surrendering to her character's smoky voice-over and disastrous judgment, the actress finds pockets of soul in a role that's part Jessica Rabbit, part Marilyn Monroe.
The movie has been through as many hurdles getting here as dear, sweet Jolene, but sometimes the most engaging movies are the ones worth waiting for.
One minute a guy's making Jolene patently false promises, the next she's getting sodomized on her wedding night.
Cruelly, the display of sorrow never takes command, with most of the film an unsatisfactory soap opera that never seizes an illuminating essence.
Chastain has long red hair, wide eyes, and an even wider smile. She is Jolene, of course, and she is appealing.
Based on an E.L. Doctorow short story, Jolene is an apt example of how stories about women who are in abusive relationships can be turned into sexual exploitation.
Vapid, convoluted, tedious and too episodic despite Jessica Chastain's charismatic performance as the seductive, wounded, insecure and lonely Jolene.
Jolene's main themes, including the manipulation of youth, the fragility of love, and the suppression of individuality, try to carry the wonky dialogue into complex territory.
Chastain, an incandescent redhead with a heart-shaped face and round, shining eyes, does more justice to the part than it deserves.
Downplaying Doctorow's condescending literary and class ironies, Ireland creates something more like a queer-inflected Candide.
A road movie that charts the adventures of an orphan teenager as she experiments with sexuality, marriage, and adultery.
A picaresque tale of a young woman's sad passage through abuse marriages that retains the sardonic wit of the original story by E.L. Doctorow.
While its lumpy story drags long before its running time is up, the film serves as the perfect showcase for new star Jessica Chastain, a dazzling redhead whose talent and radiance keeps its many parts watchable.
Audience Reviews for Jolene
A mercurial sexpot travels the country making bad decisions with the wrong men and occasionally ruining someone else's life for little discernible reason.
Jolene's voice over, which is the epitome of lazy storytelling, paints herself as a victim throughout the film's contrived events, but I found little pitiable about Jolene despite the almost charming naivete with which Jessica Chastain plays the part. In the end, I wonder what the point of Jolene's story is. Is the message about male cruelty or the ruining of an innocent? It's hard to make this case, especially after Jolene's lesbian jaunt.
Overall, I found myself confused about why I should care about this character or what the filmmakers wanted to say about her.
Decent movie. A very sad journey for a young girl to have to take. Definitely not a heartwarmer...More
A bad situation only gets worse and eventually I ran out of interest i this one dimensional character.More
A movie from the 2008 Seattle Film Festival List. This one is about a young girls trouble life and adventures. Starting when she first got married at 15 to her life and trek across America. With Many High's and a number of low's. Excellent story which shows just how fair and unfair life can be. Jessica Chastain was over the top in this one. 4 starsMore
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