Portrait of Jennie 1948

Portrait of Jennie

Critics Consensus

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83%

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Total Count: 12

85%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,002
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Movie Info

In Depression-era New York, painter Eben Adams (Joseph Cotten) despairs at his lack of success. One cold winter evening in Central Park, he meets an enigmatic, old-fashioned little girl, Jennie Appleton (Jennifer Jones), who captures his fancy when she asks him to wait for her to grow up. Soon after, Eben sells a sketch of Jennie to kindly art dealer Miss Spinny (Ethel Barrymore) and, as he meets the oddly mutable Jennie in fleeting moments, begins to realize they share a special destiny.

Cast & Crew

Jennifer Jones
Jennie Appleton
Ethel Barrymore
Miss Spinney
David Wayne
Gus O'Toole
Florence Bates
Mrs. Jekes (landlady)
Lillian Gish
Mother Mary of Mercy
Maude Simmons
Clara Morgan
Robert Nathan
Writer (Novel)
Leonardo Bercovici
Writer (Adaptation)
Paul Osborn
Writer (Screenplay)
Peter Berneis
Writer (Screenplay)
Dimitri Tiomkin
Original Music
Bernard Herrmann
Original Music
Joseph H. August
Cinematographer
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Critic Reviews for Portrait of Jennie

All Critics (12) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for Portrait of Jennie

  • Oct 14, 2017
    There is an element of magic to this story, which has a struggling artist (Joseph Cotten) meeting a young girl (Jennifer Jones) in the park by chance one day. It's soon apparent that there is something different about this girl, as she mentions things from decades ago as if they were current, and ages a little each time he subsequently meets her. A romance begins to develop, fueled by artistic inspiration she gives him, as well as mystery - is she a ghost? A muse? Someone only he can see? Meanwhile, tragedy lurks. The film is gorgeous, with beautiful shots of winter in New York City, and artistic effects such as those created by spreading canvas over the camera lens. The performances are reasonably good, and it was fantastic to see Ethel Barrymore and Lillian Gish in supporting roles. There is a dreamy feel to it, as well as philosophical message of the timelessness of art and love. It's intellectual, opening with deep thoughts ("Since time began man has looked into the awesome reaches of infinity and asked the eternal question: What is time? What is life? What is space? What is death?"), quotes from Euripides and Keats, and other profundity ("This was tomorrow once..."). It's also quite romantic ("I know we were meant to be together. The strands of our lives are woven together and neither the world nor time can tear them apart"), and it may be too syrupy or cheesy for some viewers. I have to say that Director William Dieterle does lay it on pretty thick towards the end - but all in all, with aesthetic elements that touch the head and heart, I found it entertaining.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 24, 2010
    A painter somehow contacts the spirit of a young girl who died and falls in love with her? It's a strange story, but it makes for an interesting movie.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Mar 29, 2010
    I had only seen this film only the once,until recently and I recall it was on a rainy Sunday afternoon. I only started watching this film has there was not much else on, however when it had finished, i wanted to watch it again,and stayed up late so that i could watch the repeat showing.what make this stand out was the other world feeling of it,the photography,the feel of New York in a bygone era, and the music,Debussey, which is haunting adds to the overall ambiance,It is in essence a love story which transcends time and , is told with tenderness and beauty. It's mood lingers in the heart and its planes challenge the mind. It always leaves a void when the film ends and i can truly feel Ebans pain at losing Jennie. You can read into a lot of metaphorical stuff in the film and the book - cleverly done. The ending is both heartening yet crucifying,emotionally a story of two star crossed lovers, The overall realisation that through the barrier of time love is enduring and never ending, a wonderful film which is a must for all romantics out there. Highly recommended.
    Cassandra M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 18, 2008
    A mysterious romantic tale of two people deeply in love. I have never seem a romantic film with so many Noir aspects. The last 10 minutes of the film had me surprised. I was not expecting a visual twist like that. The heart of this story though is about the artist inspiration a muse can give a person.
    Keith M Super Reviewer

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