The Scarlet Letter - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Scarlet Letter Reviews

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½ May 4, 2017
My high school reading teacher spared us from reading the book, so I really should have known better than to watch this. Curiosity got the better of me, but curiosity soon turned to boredom and later repulsion. (First and only viewing - In my mid-twenties)
April 25, 2017
Watched It On An Extremely Boring Tuesday Afternoon During A Holiday & It Passed The Time Relatively Easily. It Is Set Up As A Character Driven Drama & It Does Well In Building A Period-Piece Love Story. Didn't Expect More, So It Was Fine For What It Was.
November 16, 2015
No stars.-5 stars. -100 stars. The bottom of the bottom of the barrel. That's how much I hate this idiotic movie which pisses on the legacy of a great American novel for the sake of titillation. I'm not a prude. T&a doesn't bother me, but the book was not ABOUT that. It was about women's rights in a male-dominated society of Puritans and the overwhelming grip of guilt. A tragedy of almost Shakespearean proportions. Here there are heaps of extra sex to give teenage boys something to drool over that don't support the story in any way. This film so vaguely resembles the book, it's almost false advertising. If you want hot sex, go watch a porno. Leave the literary classics out of it.
July 16, 2015
If you are looking for a 90's movie with Indians attacking, witch hunting, abundant nudity ( featuring both sexes), zero fun, and sex on top a pile of grain; then The Scarlet Letter is for you. the movie COMPLETLY missed what the novel was about. This great novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne was a story of the guilt and shame that these two characters had to carry in a cruel point in time, as well as the consequences of their actions haunting them seemingly for the rest of their lives. If the focus was on that for the movie, then it may have not been as bad. But it took a completely different turn by making the turmoil of the characters dimmer and dimmer as the movie went on. It was turned into a love story with a cliché bad guy and ( spoiler alert) a happy ending. Even if this was supposed to be loosely based on the book, or even if it was considered " a reimagining", it should have at least kept the true idea of what that book was about.
June 13, 2015
I can't stand the adaption.
June 7, 2015
Gary Oldman Is One Of My Favorite Film Actors.
½ December 28, 2014
I think its ok with many of its problems and the alternated ending but its a ok film bad adaptation but hey im taking my chances with this then EASY A, untill the film gets a proper remake that has the name and is not so left field I'm watching this.
November 23, 2014
Not what I expected at all, especially because I have not read the book. However, it was quite interesting. Demi Moore does a wonderful job at channeling Hester Prynne. Very believable and worth watching.
½ October 8, 2014
When they say that this movie is "freely adapted" from the book by Nathaniel Hawthorne they are not kidding! This movie hardly resembles the story told in the book.
October 5, 2014
Just one question, why is this movie even called "The Scarlet Letter"? This movie has little to absolutely nothing to do with the novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne. This is just... a sexual fantasy. Demi Moore has said that "not a lot of people have read the book". Okay, but as an "adaptation" you need to respect and understand the source material no matter what status the book has in it's popularity. This version of "The Scarlet Letter" is mainly just an excuse to get Demi Moore naked.

Hester Prynne (Demi Moore) comes to the New World as a free thinker who pretty much speaks her mind and wears lace which apparently is a problem. One of the people she comes across Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale (Gary Oldman) who just loves showing off his ass while swimming in a lake. They "fall in love" and do the dirty. However, Hester finds herself pregnant and she's ostracized by the community. She's forced to wear a Scarlet Letter "A". You'd think by that plot description this would be a somewhat accurate depiction of "The Scarlet Letter" novel. But here's the thing... it's NOT. More than half of the movie is focused on the stupid love story and the love connection between our two boring leads. The whole religious persecution, hypocrisy and even the actual Scarlet Letter is hardly ever brought up. But I'll get to that a bit later.

The acting is mainly just "blah" for the most part. Gary Oldman though he is trying just doesn't really do anything in his performance to stand out. Robert Duvall just phones in his performance. Granted, he pretty much plays a cartoony bad guy but still a bad performance is a bad performance. But the worst of the acting in this movie is Demi Moore. I don't even get it, why would you cast an actress like Demi Moore to portray a character like Hester Prynne? She can barely emote basic emotions like happiness or sadness how is she going to emote complicated ones like eternal struggle? Not to mention her chemistry with Gary Oldman is nonexistent. Their love scene is like watching two unsalted crackers make love.

If I had to pick out that one thing that sinks this movie, it would be the fact that everything in The Scarlet Letter is romanticized and sappy. There is no real theme or idea being addressed in this film. Every character and story element is so boring because it's just a fantasy with no real purpose. I don't care about Hester, Dimmesdale or anybody else in this movie because the script and director Roland Joffe don't care about any of these characters either. This movie is a fairy tale and that's not what "The Scarlet Letter" is. This is not me being critical because this film is not close to the book, this is me being critical because this film lacks any care or passion. Every single thing in this movie is sugar coated and simplified.

The Scarlet Letter novel isn't exactly a book I read over and over again. However, I do know what it's purpose and main idea. Nobody involved in this movie knew why The Scarlet Letter is considered a classic. This film is just one thing... a sexualized fan fiction of Hawthorne's Novel. It's poorly written, horribly acted and terribly directed. I was really looking forward to this movie to be a funny mess, but it's just a boring waste of time.
½ September 10, 2014
Obviously awful, but just so hilarious and fun to watch with other people. What were you thinking, Gary Oldman?
July 12, 2014
love it and bought it
½ May 6, 2014
gr8 cast makes this version of this oft told tale go
March 25, 2014
robert duvall is a convincing heel.
November 13, 2013
One of the worst movie I've seen so far. The Scarlet Letter (1995) is hollow, stupid and completely melodramatic. It changes Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel of a struggling woman to a sappy romance between two lovers, with the Indians as a rescue team and well, the heroes walk free again. It is seriously a fat cliche.
½ October 27, 2013
The real drama of Hawthorne's story is lacking here and leaves the film feeling empty and dry.
August 20, 2013
my favourite movie ever
August 19, 2013
The Scarlet Letter killed Roland Joffe's career and I needed to find out why, and I was willing to sit through it to find out as well as to witness one brief sequence where Demi Moore's breasts are exposed, and I will never get tired of seeing them. And since I've never read The Scarlet Letter novel I won't be disappointed by the fact that it deviates from the source novel.

The Scarlet Letter's first qualities to hit me were the lush production design and fine cinematography that we witnessed in Roland Joffe's excellent earlier piece The Mission. Also, the production design was lavish and looked exquisitely sophisticated along with its classically atmospheric costumes, and it all blended with the beautiful musical score. The Scarlet Letter has itself set up really well. Plus, it's filmed on beautiful locations. So The Scarlet Letter sets itself up to be a technical achievement really fast, and consistently succeeds.
And once Demi Moore's enters the screen, it becomes apparent she has worked hard on voice articulation to ensure a convincing English accent which is never overdone, and its very well done. We soon witness her portraying the iconic character Hester Prynne in a manner which conveys her innocence and fragility in a society averse to her way of life, and really she gives it her all in a fine performance which is sweet and comes with a soothing smile, and an unfathomed body with such physical beauty that it embodies the physicality of the character Hester Prynne is told to be, and she mixes her character's stoic nature and passion together well.
She also shares a fine chemistry with co-star Gary Oldman, who captures the artistic passion of his character with grace and civility, and he really embodies his character's strength for the part.

I honestly can't say I expected to like The Scarlet Letter, but its hard hitting drama and themes of being a struggling woman in a chauvinistic religious society were strong. The atmosphere was excellent, and although he apparently deviated too far from the source novel, I enjoyed the direction Roland Joffe gave to The Scarlet Letter because he made it work as a standalone piece, particularly because of his handling of what themes have been left in this "free adaptation", application of symbolism and articulation of the atmosphere which makes The Scarlet Letter a passionate piece.

But the pacing of the story changed immediately once Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale says "God help me, I love thee" because the characters haven't developed enough or built a fine enough chemistry just yet to convey such a convincing love for each other, and whether this actually happened in the source novel or is just a mistake that occurred amongst Roland Joffe's adaptation, either way its unimpressive.
Plus, at some key moments in The Scarlet Letter the poor quality slow motion effect is used to excessive and becomes the primary downfall of the film's visual quality.
Also, Roland Joffe fails to emphasise the importance behind the title of The Scarlet Letting and hat it means, and it leaves the viewer's imagination to figure it out.

Nevertheless, I found that The Scarlet Letter was a compelling, good looking and well acted film which I found featured characters I could connect with even as it charters through dynamics that have been half assed in their adaptations.
August 1, 2013
I actually found this quite hilarious.
July 30, 2013
The Scarlett Letter is a disappointing film. It is about Hester Prynne who arrives from England to the Massachusetts Bay colony, seeking independence. Demi Moore and Gary Oldman give horrible performances. The screenplay is badly written. Roland Joffe did a terrible job directing this movie. I was not impressed with this motion picture.
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