Excellent, underrated, Bates is brilliant
Somehow this gripping, brilliantly-acted thriller was overlooked and
underrated when it was first released in 1995, but it's probably the
best movie ever made from a Stephen King story.
Kathy Bates has never been better. Her acting is so strong, deep, and
subtle, it's outrageous that she wasn't even nominated for the Academy
Award. I think it's because the film was released early in the year and
was out of theatres already when the nominations were made. She's
better here than about ten Oscar-winning actors I can think of, put
together -- a one-woman textbook of how to act for the screen.
Bates won an Oscar for MISERY, but she's better here, because the story
and the character are more interesting, complex and challenging. With
flawless technique, and great depth of feeling, she delivers one of the
finest screen performances of the 1990s.
Okay, the denouement's a bit strained, and there's a sprinkling of
stilted, hokey lines (Stephen King was never good at writing believable
dialogue, and his addition of forced scatology and cussing doesn't make
it any less stilted.) But overall the complicated story, which flashes
back and forth over a period of twenty years, is extremely well-told.
The constant shifting from past to present is never confusing -- an
achievement in itself!
This film never found its audience, somehow, and even some critics
missed how good it was. I notice Maltin's book now raves over the film,
giving it 3 1/2 stars, the same rating he gives to THE SILENCE OF THE
LAMBS. The violence here is more psychological than bloody, but DOLORES
is every bit as good a thriller as LAMBS, and Bates, quite frankly, can
act circles around Jodie Foster..
Misery doesn't always want company
Delores, the title character of this movie, spent her whole life in misery.
First she marries an alchoholic who calls her ugly and fat and she endures
it UNTIL he starts molesting her daughter. Her daughter, however, blocks
out the molestation and decides that her mother killed her father for no
reason at all. Delores' daughter goes away, becomes a successful reporter,
and an emotionally garbage can. Only after Delores is accused of killing
her employer (an old witch) does Delores' daughter come to terms with what
happened during her childhood and what lengths her mother went through to
insure her a successful future.
The movie is outstanding and Kathy Bates and Jennifer Jason Leigh were gems