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The Portrait Of A Lady [DVD] [1997]

3.5 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Nicole Kidman, John Malkovich, Barbara Hershey, Martin Donovan, Mary-Louise Parker
  • Directors: Jane Campion
  • Writers: Henry James, Laura Jones
  • Producers: Ann Wingate, Heidrun Reshöft, Mark Turnbull, Monty Montgomery, Steve Golin
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English, Italian
  • Subtitles: French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: Unknown
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Jun. 2001
  • Run Time: 139 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005ABUL
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,585 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Jane Campion directs this adaptation of the Henry James novel. Independent woman Isabel Archer (Nicole Kidman) refuses two suitors, Lord Warburton (Richard E. Grant) and Caspar Goodwood (Viggo Mortensen), when they propose marriage. Instead she travels to Florence, where family friend Madame Merle introduces her to Gilbert Osmond (John Malkovich) and his daughter Pansy. Soon Isabel finds herself falling for the mysterious Osmond. They are engaged to be married within three months, but much unhappiness lies ahead.

From Amazon.co.uk

Leave it to New Zealand director Jane Campion (The Piano, Angel at My Table) to begin an adaptation of Henry James's great novel (set in the late 1800s) with a group of late-20th-century women from Down Under talking about the importance of a kiss. Like any good film adaptation (and it's a very good one, indeed), this exquisitely framed and mounted Portrait of a Lady is at least as much Campion as it is James. The story of strong-willed, independent-minded Isabel Archer (Nicole Kidman, whose skin here is photographed like delicate porcelain) is a tricky one to dramatise, since it's largely about good intentions going awry, roads not taken, misguided decisions made for good reasons. Headstrong American orphan Isabel rejects the proposal of a decent, sensible English suitor, Lord Warburton (Richard E. Grant), because she wants to find her own destiny and identity first. Instead, she is seduced by Gilbert Osmond (John Malkovich), an effete collector of art (and women) whom one character describes as a "sterile dilettante". How Isabel's life, and the lives of those who love her, are affected by this fateful (but irreversible?) decision is what the bulk of the film is about. Portrait of a Lady is lovely, heartbreaking, and at times terrifying--as only coming face-to-face with the consequences of one's own life-changing decisions can be. --Jim Emerson --This text refers to the Blu-ray edition.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I must say I totally disagree with the somewhat mediocre reviews below. I consider "Portrait of a Lady" to be one of Jane Campion's best movies. The actors are magnificient.
Nicole Kidman is both beautiful and very moving as the gentle naive heroine who aspires to liberty and escaping her condition as a young woman intended to make a good marriage.
John Malkovich is truly the part of the sinister virtually sadistic husband. But he isn't the best, the most touching of all is Martin Donovan as the subdued cousin, slowly consuming from illness and unrequieted love.
The photography is beautiful, and certain sequences are truly magical: Nicole Kidman's strange daydream of John Malkovich's
burning declaration to her "I absolutely love you", (something between a 1920's silent movie and the Dali dream sequence in Hitchcocks' "Spellbound"),
and the deadly romantic Final sequence that starts with a kiss between Nicole Kidman and Viggo Mortensen and ends in slow motion on a beautiful score by Wojciech Kilar (coppola's Dracula)
If you love Period drama and strong deep emotion, this is a beautiful an compelling Movie.
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From the very first second to the very last i was totally transfixed. The acting in this movie is flawless and brilliant. Nicole does incredibly well as a young naive woman who finds she is uncapable of sticking to the same decision. I found myself rising up as if to defend her in her time of greatest need, when she was being emotionally and physically abused by her husband. As sad as the beginning may be, lots of tears, lots of building emotion and desperation to be loved, the ending made me breath a sigh of relief for Isabelle Archer. She'd found herself trapped and managed to set herself free again.

I HAVE to comment on the documentary included. It gives a closer look at the actors and let me tell you, it looked difficult. In preperation for her abusive scenes you see Nicole crying and frustrated and beating herself up. It compelled me almost as much as the film! If you buy this dvd (you must) then make sure to watch this bonus feature, you will realise that the life of an actor is not all it's cracked up to be.

Over all, a compelling and beautiful piece of drama.
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Format: VHS Tape
Henry James was realistic about women at the end of the 19th century, particularly those standing between the US and Great Britain. Isabel is such a woman. She gets into the world without any parents but with a tremendously good uncle and cousin. She is surrounded with men who love her and want to marry her out of love. She refuses them, three of them, to be able to see the world. And she falls in the hands of a social climber, a social parasite and a fortune hunter who covers up his liaison with the woman who introduced her to him, and whose daughter is the out-of-wedlock child of this very woman. She is of course deeply unhappy, alone, brutalized too, and yet she tries to save the daughter from her fate. She fails because the daughter is totally under the tyrannical authority of her father, an authority that is tyrannical only because the daughter accepts it and submits to it, particularly because of the teachings of some good Catholic nuns. Finally Isabel finds the energy to escape – for a while at least – from that husband when she learns his liaison and she can force him to accept. But she is so pent up in her stubborn decision that she can never step back and consider a real escape. Yet, maybe, at the end, there is a wavering touch of hope – for her. It is incredible how this woman, who wants to be strong-headed and independent, fails to see the men who love her and to recognize the man who uses her. As it is said in the film somewhere, Americans cannot become Europeans, and yet Isabel succeeds very well in becoming twisted and thwarted in Europe. Is that typically European ? Maybe. Nicole Kidman plays the role with style, delicacy, dainty and quaint nuances, but also with a tremendous amount of gusto, sentiment, feeling and emotion.Read more ›
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Jane Campion transposed one of Henry James' best novels into a formidable masterpiece.
She captured luminously the author's main themes: money and love, Puritanism, innocence and survival.

A gift of a fortune by an uncle to a young lady turns into a nightmare: money doesn't buy happiness.
She becomes the target of those who need the money for their own `standing' and the survival of their offspring (daughter).
Another main theme of Henry James is Puritanism: the rejection of the `physical' body. The innocent lady is captured through the discovery of physical contact, here, a French kiss. It overwhelms her completely and she gets entangled in a web of lies, hard plays of domination and subtle intrigues in order to keep her former admirers at bay. She stays blind for the `real' world of true affections until she is confronted with naked and shattering facts.

The performance of the cast (Nicole Kidman, John Malkovich, Barbara Hershey and others) is simply sublime. Rarely have difficult expressions in harsh and deeply pure or malignant emotional confrontations so intensely been interpreted.
A must see.
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