Dolores Claiborne [DVD] 
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Dolores Claiborne (Kathy Bates) was accused of killing her abusive husband twenty years ago, but the court's findings were inconclusive and she was allowed to walk free. Now she has been accused of killing her employer, Vera Donovan (Judy Parfitt), and this time there is a witness who can place her at the scene of the crime. Things look bad for Dolores, the memory of the first murder seemingly confirming her guilt in the second. But when her daughter Selena (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a successful Manhattan magazine writer, returns to cover the story, the truth about the family's past gradually comes to light.
Dark secrets, family torments and two murders swirl around the stoic, hardened figure of Dolores Claiborne (Kathy Bates in one of her most magnetic screen performances), a housekeeper accused of murdering her employer of 22 years. Then there was that timely accident that took Dolores's husband (David Strathairn) during the solar eclipse of 1975. Yet with all the sombre suffering that follows Dolores like a miasma of pain, none of it compares with the heartache of a relationship she has with her grown daughter (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Although Dolores Claiborne is rife with horror, it is not of the supernatural kind, but rather of the torment only real people can impose on one another. The script, adapted from Stephen King's novel, successfully weaves several plot threads and psychological dilemmas throughout this engrossing tale without diminishing any of them. Director Taylor Hackford not only culls intense performances from his cast, but also brings to life the haunting, autumnal landscape around them. When the film's best-kept secret is finally given up, it occurs under the surreal backdrop of a solar eclipse: a truly sensational piece of cinematography that crowns a movie replete with indelible images and intense emotions. --Rochelle O'Gorman
On the DVD: In Dolores Claiborne, the autumnal landscape of Nova Scotia is as much a principal character as any of the actors. As a result, the film is crucially dependent on the subtleties of the cinematographer's sense of time and place. The superb clarity of the widescreen DVD transfer only enhances the movie's steely cool atmosphere. Director Taylor Hackford gives a detailed and illuminating commentary--elucidating the cast's performance and explaining the careful photography of every scene. Though the commentary is the only extra feature, it adds more real value than most two disc sets can manage. --Mark WalkerSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The husband deserved everything he got......
Plot sees Leigh as Selena St. George, a big-city reporter who travels to her home town island in Maine when her mother is accused of murdering the elderly woman that she was caring for. Her estranged mother, Dolores (Bates), is also widely suspected to have killed her husband and Selena's father some 20 years earlier, even though that was ruled as an accident. As mother and daughter come together, secrets of the past merge with the harshness of the present.
A terrificly well acted and well mounted drama doing justice to a great book, Dolores Claiborne thrusts family trauma to the front of an on going murder investigation. King adaptations are well known for being very hit and miss, but this is certainly one of the better ones, it see a shift from standard horror monsters, to monsters of a different kind, the human ones. Played out to a perpetually dank backdrop of rain, grey skies and a sea devoid of beauty, film unfolds to reveal the sadness of one family's roots, where emotional discord hangs heavy, constantly. The structure is well handled by Hackford, as present day scenes merge into those from the past, giving off a perfectly ghost like feel to the plotting. Plummer's weary detective John Mackey is a bit too underwritten for my liking, and the time afforded the pre-trial debate and inquest is simply not enough to make the required impact once all the revelations come tumbling forward. The latter unforgivable given the film runs at over two hours.
However, slight irks aside, this is still great stuff and if only for the trio of lead lady performances then this is a must see for the drama seeking film fan. 7.5/10
This is one of my top-5 films of all time, but even if it wasn't I don't think I could be anything other than bowled over by this director's vision and enthusiasm, and also vivid and absorbing audio presence. If you choose to purchase this dvd having never before seen 'Dolores Claiborne' I can assure you that you'll definitely want to learn more about its' making (if not, you will be denying yourself a great insight and pleasure). So although you won't be getting a multitude of extra's, if you choose to turn to the commentary page you will at least learn more about this film than probably even the actor's themselves.
As to the film itself- if you havn't seen it before, you've probably been mislead by trailers that have marketed this as horror or murder mystery and while it does contain elements of these genres, with such tour-de-force performances from all key players- this is primarily a great drama.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Product as described, good delivery time. A typical chilling Stephen king story full of shocks. I really enjoyed it.Published 2 months ago by madeleine mary
Whatever kathy bates is in is good but this film was not a good storyline a bit boringPublished 4 months ago by Mrs Elizabeth A Jones