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Lolita

Director:  Adrian Lyne
Year Released:  1997
Rating:  2.5

Woefully in love Humbert Humbert (Jeremy Irons) goes on his classic journey with seductive and sneaky Dolores Haze (Dominique Swain) - at first the 14-year-old (not 12 as in the book, because dating a 12-year-old is one step too far for Hollywood to take) seems like sweetness and light, but as her dark side emerges, so does Humbert's jealousy and paranoia. It could be argued that no film adaptation could accurately compete with the very literary work - Nabokov's language is so exquisite, it's as much (if not more) about the poetry of language and thought than about some nymphet - and both this and Kubrick's take aren't without their faults: here, Lyne simply cannot resist over-embellishing and spackling on the slickness/style to the detriment of the picture (the cameras swirl around as Humbert has a nightmare featuring men with masks, the bug zapper virtually explodes as Humbert talks to Quilty, Humbert nearly knocks down an entire hospital staff like bowling pins because of a wet floor, and so on). The moral is still there, naturally - little girls have no idea what they want - and Humbert comes across as pathetic in his lust. Irons struggles a bit with the challenging role - sometimes he looks like he's trying to convince himself he's enraptured - but Swain's a gem, and her nasty remarks and cruelty make me wish Humbert would be sensible for once and push her out of the moving car. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, have you ever listened to a child whine for six hours straight?...

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