This is the most intricate Stephen King story adapted as a film in my humble opinion. This film has a wonderful plot. The narration which flashes back and forth in time is well done. The outstanding thing about this film is the character of Dolores Claiborne. It’s a very complex character. It has been portrayed by Kathy Bates brilliantly. I have not seen many Kathy Bates films–but did see Misery for which she won an Oscar–another Stephen King story. Misery is much straight forward a film than Dolores Claiborne. Misery relies much upon its haunting cold torture sequences which are totally absent in this film. This film is more of a psychological dissection of Dolores Claiborne and her relationship with her daughter, husband and employer in general.
The audience believes that Dolores Claiborne is psychotic, delusional and violent. It’s all because of what audience witnesses for most of the first half. This view is held almost till end when it goes for complete reversal. Actually it starts changing midway through when you start feeling that her relationship with her employer was actually based on loyalty. Still you keep believing that she’s somewhat deluded about her husband’s advances towards their daughter–until it’s confirmed that she was right all along. This is really masterly–a character looks like psychotic, deluded and violent personality; but turns out to be a loyal friend, caring mother and generous hard working parent who sacrificed much for her daughter. It wouldn’t have been so moving had it not been for Kathy Bates. There are people who believe that she deserved an academy award more for this one compared to Misery. They might be right but I personally feel that actors of her caliber exalt awards and not otherwise. If a real master in a field doesn’t win an award it’s not his loss. It’s a loss of award. Kathy Bates has done this extremely complex character with such an ease that I feel I’ve not seen a better actress in my life.
Entire cast of this film has done very well except for Jennifer Leigh’s slightly weak scenes here and there. The direction is perfect like editing is. This is a film which should be used to teach in film schools to teach about acting and story telling in my opinion. This is a perfect film!
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