Critics Consensus

Kubrick's Lolita adapts its seemingly unadaptable source material with a sly comedic touch and a sterling performance by James Mason that transforms the controversial novel into something refreshingly new without sacrificing its essential edge.



Total Count: 42


Audience Score

User Ratings: 45,901
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Movie Info

With a screenplay penned by the author himself, Stanley Kubrick brings Vladimir Nabokov's controversial tale of forbidden love to the screen. Humbert Humbert (James Mason) is a European professor who relocates to an American suburb, renting a room from lonely widow Charlotte Haze (Shelley Winters). Humbert marries Charlotte, but only to nurture his obsession with her comely teenage daughter, Lolita (Sue Lyon). After Charlotte's sudden death, Humbert has Lolita all to himself -- or does he?

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James Mason
as Prof. Humbert Humbert
Sue Lyon
as Lolita
Peter Sellers
as Clare Quilty
Shelley Winters
as Charlotte Haze
Marianne Stone
as Vivian Darkbloom
Diana Decker
as Jean Farlow
Jerry Stovin
as John Farlow
Suzanne Gibbs
as Mona Farlow
Shirley Douglas
as Mrs. Starch
Cec Linder
as Physician
Irvin Allen
as Hospital Attendant
Lois Maxwell
as Nurse Mary Lore
Isobel Lucas
as Haze Maid
Maxine Holden
as Hotel Receptionist
Marion Mathie
as Miss Lebone
James Dyrenforth
as Beale Senior
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Critic Reviews for Lolita

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (39) | Rotten (3)

Audience Reviews for Lolita

  • Jun 19, 2018
    Like the book, the film is strongest in the beginning, as Humbert Humbert (James Mason) takes a room with a widow (Shelley Winters), only after spotting her teenage daughter (Sue Lyon) lounging around in a bikini. The tension between his forbidden attraction, concealed in sly glances and little gestures, all while Winters practically throws herself at him, is fantastic. Unfortunately, after an event I won't describe to avoid spoiling it, the film drags on and gets a bit ridiculous. The point is to show how ridiculous an infatuation can make a man behave, even if it is taboo, bringing him to humiliation, but the road trip, being pursued, and the recurring character played by Peter Sellers, who is so endearing in the beginning, eventually gets over-used and annoying. The film is far too long at 152 minutes, and another screenwriter should have been used instead of Nabokov. There are several places the film suffers from the Production Code, and we never really feel the sickness of lust from Mason, but Director Stanley Kubrick does get a number of allusions in, and perhaps it's better that the majority of it was left to the imagination. It's disturbing that Sue Lyon was just 14 when filming started, but her performance is impressive, and Shelley Winters is also strong. Kubrick does reasonably well, but errs by wandering into some silly comedic moments, and should have tightened things up. There's enough here to be entertained when you're not cringing though.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 02, 2017
    Yup, they made a film out of one of the most controversial novels in the 20th century. Lolita is a gritty drama about pedophilia really, Kubrick got a lot of controversy over this but the film not that great to be honest, mostly just characters being horrible to one another.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Feb 25, 2016
    Kubrick at the top of his game with an all star team behind him delivers nothing less than quality in this Nabakov tale that skewers Americans and their tightly held preconceptions at every turn, nearly in every frame. James Mason is wunderbar and understated, but by no means all that the effort has to offer.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Apr 07, 2015
    I personally find Lolita to be one of those films wherein the immortal hype surrounding the product proves to be more interesting than the entire film. Whilst its standard Kubrick affair - rather good really - it's slow pace and less than gripping characters render the film quite disapointing really. Worth a watch still.
    Harry W Super Reviewer

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