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3.1 out of 5 stars29
3.1 out of 5 stars
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After reading the reviews I was prepared to drift into slumberland but was held for two hours plus even though fatigued and a low threshold for falling asleep. It helped knowing about Anais, Henry, June, Hugh and the other characters.

The films is shot in a form of art sumptuousness that even on the smallest TV this this stood up tall and erect.

Anais is a female architect of the bohemian femme fatale template along with Lou Salome.. Prior to thes templates women were divided into ladies, mothers and whores. Anais and Lou were the first to write about their experiences whirling around the creators of an era.

Anais was vandalised in her childhood by her father and married into security growing up in a penniless artistic background. Hugh was the rock from which she built her later experimentation on. On her wedding night she did not know how to initiate penetrative sex. Hugh was the product of the thrashings and bullying of a Scottish public school and was also frigid. Together he and Anais rolled around rubbing against each other. The back ground to the film.

This catches her discovering sex as a frission rather than being raped as a kid or locked into coldness with Hugh. Together they learn the secrets of sex as Anais conducts a series of affairs to find herself. She adopts the personality of June to find a template for her personal liberation. She then begins to colonise the people around her as she becomes close to them. In turn they also colonise her as Miller uses her D H Lawrence work for himself.

As the film unfolds Anais plays on the pipes of pan and becomes fully lubricated. What it misses apart from the opening moments is her seduction of two therapists and vice versa they seduce her. Also missing is her later revenge against her father an incestual 9 day tryst. Afterwards she wrote it up in her journal and it was published posthumously- the ultimate revenge destroyed his reputation and built hers.

This is a beautiful film, it's not a porn film- that can easily be conjured on google, this is a sensual film exploring sexual emotions. Worth the effort if it is put into context. Anais also tried to liberate herself from her past by using sex to recreate the site of her sexual abuse. When this is understood the film has meaning.
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on 19 April 2000
I have read many of Henry Miller books and loved most of them. For this reason I was a bit sceptic about the movie. But if you love Miller, and even if you don't you must check this video !its very strong, sensual and emotional. Its the story of Henry Miller in Paris falling in love with 'fellow' writer Anais Nin, who also falls in love with Miller's wife...Its a story of how important it is for human beings to free their own sexuality but also a story of how it is possible to love two people at the same time, wether you believe this or not. Uma Thurman is excellent in the part of Millers wife. The movie is worth every penny you pay for it. ENJOY !
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on 15 April 2016
I haven't read either Henry Miller or Anais Nin - the writers of erotic lit celebrated in this film. So I'm in no position to judge how well their characterisation by directer Phillip Kaufman and his co-writer wife Rose actually is. Frankly, the actual literary back-story is irrelevant anyway in judging this film on it's own merits. I found the on-screen characters and their story pretty uncompelling. Hard to see what's interesting about these self-involved people with their pretensions to existential insight.

Technically, the film's a well made, polished production. The central performances are good with the exception of Richard E. Grant playing Hugo, Anais Nin's husband. He's got such a distinctive acting style that, unless well cast, he stands out like a sore thingey. Which is the case here.

The story centres upon the relationship between Nin, Miller and Miller's wife June played with admirable commitment by Maria de Medeiros, Fred Ward Uma Thurman respectively. It's basically seen from Nin's perspective as she explores her sexuality by embarking a bi-sexual relationship with the Millers. By the end of the film she seems to believe she has matured into womanhood.

Trouble is, I couldn't give a damn. She's a sexy enough bint all right, but I wasn't smitten by her character. Or her desire.

More engaging I thought, was the notion that the two writers were basically exploiting the vamp June as a life experience upon which to draw as artistic material for their novels. But that wasn't examined in anything other than superficial terms.The voyeuristic theme is placed centre-stage, the film being chocked with mirror images, projections, masques and other references suggesting voyeurism, role-playing and doubling. Unfortunately, as cinematic voyeur, at no point could I engage empathetically with either of the writers. In fact, I couldn't get involved enough in their screen dramas to care for any of these characters.

As for erotic content --well I guess that's highly subjective but this is certainly no masterpiece (as claimed on the packaging). There's insufficient depth or subtlety to it. We follow the sensuality-obsessed characters in a delirious stream of episodic erotic encounters the tone of which goes for lush vampy passion (approximating the popular mode of the period) but which comes-off more often than not as hammy theatricals. Laden with some pretty crap symbolism (a pot boils over at a climactic moment, a bread roll enters a husband's mouth as his wife gets screwed upstairs by his pal etc.) and many a pretentious line of dialogue.

Basically what we have here is a commercial cinematic exercise in period style; a romantic envisioning of bohemian Paris of the 30's jazzed-up with lashings of arty erotica. It's a very attractive milieu to focus upon and, if done well, a sure-fire draw for me, certainly. But the approach here lays every coffee-table book cliche on us. Even Brassai makes an appearance. The visuals are a lush stream of quotations from cinema, photography and modern literature as if Kaufman's drunk on research. Aesthetically, it might be a mall-girl's dream, but as a seriously ambitious art film celebrating the realm of the senses (which this plainly is), it's rather over-egged.

If you want a genuinely engrossing erotic charge in recent mainstream cinema, my pick for a decent yardstick by which to judge this attempt would be Fur, Director Steven Shainberg's masterly film homage to photographer Diane Arbus, superbly written by Erin Cressida Wilson. That, and Shainberg's earlier film Secretary, exemplify truly engrossing eroticism possible in film storytelling.

By comparison, the onscreen antics of Henry and June amount to shallow stylistic posturing with nothing much to say. Not terrible, but too low a spark to ignite desire.
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on 23 July 2013
A great idea to make a film about Henry Miller and Anais Nin, both sexually explicit and at times poetic writers who were mutually inspired in 1930's Paris. A good film for struggling writers to watch and be inspired by.
The 'June' in the title was Henry's somewhat estranged wife who (unfortunately for the story) arrives midstory and becomes a perpetual distraction for all, but seems more interested in Anais than in her husband Henry,who has become for her a controllable bore whose arrogant alpha male charms no longer work on her, having seen underneath the surface of the man. Nin is equally tied to, but bored of, her own husband, and this is the stage on which everything else revolves around. The world created by Kaufmann hints at the tastes and aromas of 1930's Paris but never quite gets the full flavour of it or the feeling of the dirt of the streets under its fignernails.It's too solid when it needed to be more dreamy and slightly out of focus and really cries out for more random fragments of life to paint a picture from those fragments,in the way that Miller does in his book 'Tropic of Cancer.'
Miller and Nin suffer here from being under-revealed by the screenplay and the best way to have improved this was through their writing, which cannot be contested. This is done slightly through Nin's periodic voice-over but i wish more of Miller's poetic side could have been read aloud onto the screen and the images recreated as the voice spoke.
I got used to Fred West as Miller, and he does get across the rawness of that lust for life, and Maria de M playing Nin also gets my vote as a presence of erotic naive beauty discovering her identity through pleasure.I wouldnt say it is an erotic classic though, it is more obsessive and coarse, so it sinks rather than soars.
I liked fragments of this film as I do the books, but never feel satisfied with the entire whole. I liked Miller at his typewriter struggling, i liked him retreating to the whore houses, it was all very evocative, but other parts failed to meet him at that level.I can't criticise Uma Thurman as she may well have nailed the mystery of June.I have no idea.
Unfortunately many scenes are spoilt by the imbecilic wooden non-entity that is Richard E Grant. What a useless conceited bore he is, with his catty gossiping book squealing on all his Hollywood acquaintances, and unfortunately his acting doesn't redeem him from that in this film. He ruins every scene he is in, just as he did in Coppola's Dracula.If i had been forced to hear him say "pussywillow" in his effeminate whine one more time i think i would have calmly removed the dvd and snapped it into pieces. But if you can ignore his feeble presence and allow those moments of splendour to carry you a bit further into reveries of your own, this might well work for you on some levels.
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on 9 October 2015
At long last this great film is on Blu-ray albeit a German one, but it's easy to switch over to the English language version with NO trouble with unmovable subtitles, and a really fine picture quality. Maria De Medeiros, who I've only ever seen in one other film (Pulp Fiction) is superb as the French female writer of erotica Anais Nin. While in Paris Anais meets the American author Henry Miller (Fred Ward) and becomes fascinated by him,(he's a person life intoxicates) later in the film she succumbs to the charms of Henry's wife June (Uma Thurman - also in Pulp Fiction). The film's very atmospheric with great directing from Philip Kaufman, and fine performances all round, highly recommended.
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on 8 January 2012
Beautiful, passionate, mesmerizing and so evocative - i want to live in 1920s Paris! Don't listen to the bad reviews - they know nothing of great film making. If you're a writer you'll adore this film. Uma thurman is amazing in it! Her best screen appearance in my opinion.
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on 10 April 2007
I give this five stars for only one thing: the incomparable Maria de Medeiros. Not only is her performance remarkable, given the circumstances, but she is the most beautiful ever to appear on screen, and it is worth watching the film just to bask in that. For the rest, the acting is wooden (Richard E. Grant gives the worst performance of his life) and the script is appalling. The director should have been taken away, never to be seen again. The only real eroticism in the film is in Maria de Medeiros's face, above all in those huge, soulful eyes that would melt any man's heart in seconds. The only reason she isn't a major Hollywood star is that she chose to be a European (mainly French) performer. Good for her.
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on 25 January 2014
I watched this DVD with my wife. I didn't find it particularly erotic and Henry's bald head made the love scenes seem contrived. June was well played especially in the lesbian scene with Anais.
Generally speaking, I found the story line obscure and the passion of the lives the characters wasn't well captured.
OK but try harder.
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on 4 April 2011
Many reviewers have commented on the explicit nature of this film, and many of them miss the point. This is Anais Nin's masterpiece about her realtionship with the Millers, Henry and June. Kaufman makes a fine and sensitive, even beautiful film here, about writers and bicycles and Paris in the prewar years.
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on 25 April 2013
This film was poorly done the script was okay but the content was average to say the least the film needed more guidance
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