Jolene

Critics Consensus

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48%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 21

43%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,048
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Movie Info

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

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Critic Reviews for Jolene

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (11)

  • It's a mediocre movie with a very nice central performance.

    August 29, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Cruelly, the display of sorrow never takes command, with most of the film an unsatisfactory soap opera that never seizes an illuminating essence.

    May 3, 2011 | Rating: C | Full Review…
  • Chastain has long red hair, wide eyes, and an even wider smile. She is Jolene, of course, and she is appealing.

    November 21, 2010 | Rating: 2.5/5
  • 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 | Rating: 3/5
  • 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 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • 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.

    November 1, 2010 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Jolene

  • Oct 31, 2013
    Jessica Chastain, in her breakout feature film debut, as a young woman searching for her place in the world, is spectacular, as her character ages from 15 to 25. The story reminded me somewhat of the underground, soft-porn 1964 novel, Candy, by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg, which in turn was a parody of Voltaire's Candide, in that Jolene seemed to move from one scandalous relationship to another, always searching for who she is meant to be. And every man, and a couple of women, take advantage of her charms at every turn. The last relationship almost kills her, but once again she hits the road and reinvents herself. Terrific acting, great scenery, and some truly awful plot turns kept this viewer engaged and at times enraged. And through it all, Ms Chastain radiates pure innocent beauty and grace even in the face of horrendous circumstances.
    Mark A Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2012
    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 H Super Reviewer
  • Mar 15, 2012
    Jessica was great even though the movie kinda sucks. The first 70 minutes was very hard to watch. and I don't know why but when I saw Denise Richards here I almost shit my pants from laughing. lmao. what the fuck.
    Cita W Super Reviewer
  • Jan 20, 2012
    <i>A life between the exit signs</i> Very dark and moving story. Worth watching at least once.
    Sam R Super Reviewer

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