Lolita (1997) Review

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Humbert Humbert is a British professor who is in the US to teach, he rents a room in Charlotte’s house but only when he sees her 14-year-old daughter who he is attracted to and goes on to marry her mother to stay close.

*Warning this review contains a difficult subject matter and possible spoilers*

I really doubted whether I should watch this film or not after reading the synopsis on Netflix a couple of times. One night I decided to give it a watch as Jeremy Irons is a very good actor, however I doubted being able to stomach the story and stopped about half way through. After some persuasion on Twitter I powered though to the end of the film.

I was actually finding it rather strange that a film like this was allowed to be made (I know it is a remake, which I actually forgot I have on DVD in my Kubrick box set) as it pretty much glorifies pedophiles and grooming. Dolores aka Lolita is wiser than her years but that does not make anything about this story ok.

Humbert grooms her and apparently falls in love with her, I honestly could not accept it as real love. It is wrong on every possible level, I just could not believe what I was watching at times in all honesty some of the scenes just were too much. Especially the car scene, as that was the turning point. Along with some of the hotel scenes, which actually created fear but were luckily tamer than you then expect.

Humbert and Lolita end up on the road trying to hide their relationship whilst posing as Stepfather and stepdaughter, while being pursued by a man he believes is part of the police. That doesn’t end up being the case, the ending to that is so much worse! Humbert cannot take the jealously and not trusting Lolita as she is rather wild in spirit, he was not even the first man she had been with.

When she decides to leave him the consequences are pretty bad for her to be brutally honest, the reunion a few years later results in a very awful scene with Clare Quilty played by Frank Langella. We see a hell of a lot more of him that I ever thought I would. The ending and confrontation between the two well monsters is bittersweet I guess and doesn’t really make you happy at all. I think it makes everything worse in terms of that they both thought what they did to the girls was normal and ok.

I certainly will not be recommending this film to anyone as it is just too traumatic to watch at times. Irons did put in a very strong performance and I am pleased to say that it has not put me off him, roles like this really could manage to do that. Basically I want to know if you have seen this film or not?

I don’t imagine it to be a film that you would now rush to watch, I guess my biggest question is to whether I will watch the original or not.

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11 thoughts on “Lolita (1997) Review

  1. Agree, I saw the original, which because of the time when it was made had to “tiptoe” around the intimacy of the relationship and made James Mason more of a voyeur…that said, the subject matters tough to stomach –

    Liked by 1 person

      • I post a lot of stuff on classic exploitation films of the 70’s, and while the action gets rough at times, it never involved underaged performers…and in most of these types of films, the women exact the ultimate revenge – so there is a positive end – “Lolita” is just too much to take

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have the book; but, I have Never read it because I saw the movie with Mason. For some strange reason, I only remember Peter Sellers in that movie. I definitely do not want to see Irons(great actor) in this dismal film. I think more men might appreciate this “classic” compared to women. It is difficult to stomach. I enjoyed reading your honest review😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s just a tough thing to take on and watch as it really is the worst subject matter ever! I have that version on DVD so maybe eventually I will watch that one as well.

      Like

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