The Portrait of a Lady
1996, Drama, 2h 24m71 Reviews 5,000+ Ratings
What to know
Beautiful, indulgently heady, and pretentious, The Portrait of a Lady paints Campion's directorial shortcomings in too bright a light. Read critic reviews
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Cast & Crew
Madame Serena Merle
Critic Reviews for The Portrait of a Lady
This claustrophobic Portrait of a Lady is the kind of failure only a very gifted filmmaker could make: like it or not, it haunts you.December 7, 2018 | Full Review…
Portrait feels like an elegant party, full of attractive people, beautiful finery and tremendous music (from Wojiech Kilar), yet no excitement. And no matter how many times you revisit the place, it never gets better.
This is a film that appeals to the head far more than to the heart, making for a portrait that seems somewhat less than complete.
Ten years on, the drama is still too slow but the film is far more watchable in the comfort of one's home with the pause button at the ready.
Director Jane Campion not only alludes to the contemporary resonance of this hundred-year-old tale, but with this bold stamp she lays claim to the story that follows as wholly her own.
Jane Campion and screenwriter Laura Jones have... produced an adaptation as cinematically intelligent as it is faithful to the original.
Audience Reviews for The Portrait of a Lady
May 07, 2014"The Portrait of a Lady" starts with Isabel Archer(Nicole Kidman) rejecting the proposal of the super wealthy Lord Warburton(Richard E. Grant). Next, it is Caspar Goodwood(Viggo Mortensen) who was reinserted into her path by Isabelle's supposed friend Henrietta(Mary-Louise Parker) only to be turned down. Seeing Isabelle's options disappear and fearing for her future, her cousin Ralph(Martin Donovan) comes up with an alternate plan that involves his dying father(John Gielgud). "The Portrait of a Lady" is a beautifully rendered period piece. So, it might come as a surprise that director Jane Campion gets lost not so much in the details but in its retrograde politics and customs, using a modern day prologue to reinforce her questioning the choices that women make. On a different tact, Campion somehow manages to restrain her eclectic cast in order to not outshine the movie's supposed star and manages to only bring them down to Kidman's unresponsive level, and sucking some of the oxygen out of the room in the bargain. Speaking of the eclectic cast, Mary-Louise Parker and John Malkovich(who has somehow never played Lenin) show up again in the "Red" films while Parker and Martin Donovan star again together in "Pipe Dream" and appearing together in the televsion series "Weeds."Walter M Super Reviewer
Dec 20, 2006Film not so good but Malkovich nailed it!Linda K Super Reviewer
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