Jolene (2008)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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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
R (for strong sexual content, nudity, language, some violence and drug use)
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Dermot Mulroney
as Uncle Phil
Michael Vartan
as Brad Benton
Denise Richards
as Marin Lerger
Chazz Palminteri
as Sal Fontaine
Rupert Friend
as Coco Lerger
Zeb Newman
as MIckey
Theresa Russell
as Aunt Kay
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Critic Reviews for Jolene

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (9)

More epic than it needs to be and less profound than it should be, "Jolene" remains a watchable excursion into human frailty and foibles.

November 4, 2010
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

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.

November 4, 2010
Seattle Times
Top Critic

So bad it's almost (but not quite) good, Dan Ireland's Jolene is an unusually elaborate and excruciatingly long vanity production...

Full Review… | October 28, 2010
New York Post
Top Critic

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.

October 28, 2010
New York Times
Top Critic

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.

October 27, 2010
New York Observer
Top Critic

One minute a guy's making Jolene patently false promises, the next she's getting sodomized on her wedding night.

Full Review… | October 26, 2010
Time Out
Top Critic

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.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


Decent movie. A very sad journey for a young girl to have to take. Definitely not a heartwarmer...

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer


A bad situation only gets worse and eventually I ran out of interest i this one dimensional character.

Thomas Johnston
Thomas Johnston

Super Reviewer

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