why Cranky is in pain
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do     Contact    Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

amazon.gif
Top Selling DVD     Books

BLU-RAY DVDs:
50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Robocop
Selma
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
Akira
Avatar
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Bambi
A Bug's Life
Cars
Chronicles of Narnia set
Coraline
Ghostbusters
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Ratatouille
Rio
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
combo
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE

OFCS

Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

 DISNEY PIXAR DVDs
Alice in Wonderland
Bambi
Beauty and the Beast
Bolt
Cinderella
Coraline
E.T.
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Pinocchio
Princess Mononoke
Ratatouille
Rio 
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy

Portrait of a Lady
Starring Nicole Kidman and John Malkovich
Directed by Jane Campion


Henry James is one of the greatest writers in the history of the English novel. His construction and use of language are unparalleled. Now, for the first time, a film has duplicated the intricacies of James' story construction. It is Jane Campion's Portrait of a Lady, starring Nicole Kidman. Campion, who previously wrote and directed The Piano has, in this work, displayed a grand appreciation and understanding of the craft of Henry James. Her finished work is properly paced and filled with exquisite camera movement, as well as having spectacular production values, costumes, and locations in England and Italy. Portrait is filmed mostly in dark shades of blue, as if to suggest the closing of both the 19th century and of chauvinistic modes of thinking.

Nicole Kidman portrays Isabel Archer, who at 23 is of a marrying age and not without suitors. But she wants to see more of the world, and refuses an eligible bachelor. A cousin, suffering from consumption (now called tuberculosis), arranges for her to inherit a large sum of money from his uncle. The wealthy Isabel is then free to explore the world at her pleasure.

She, of course, marries the first gigolo -- who's broke and prefers to live off her money -- who crosses her path. John Malkovich has refined this part in other roles and delivers a perfect and chilling performance.

Which is why you may see other reviews call Portrait of a Lady a perfect $8.00 on Cranky's scale.

But let's get real.

Henry James was, perhaps, the greatest writer in the history of the English novel, whose construction and use of language were unparalleled. Any collegiate professor of English literature will tell you so as you drown in the verbiage of any of his novels. I speak from personal experience. Campion's Portrait of a Lady is as suffocating and boring as the words on the printed page. It took all of fifteen minutes for the exodus from the movie theater in which I suffered through Portrait to begin, and said exodus continued steadily throughout all eight thousand six hundred and forty seconds of exquisite and carefully choreographed camera movements. Feh.

Portrait stars Nicole Kidman in a role that has other critics predicting Oscar. But Kidman's performance is a slate; there is no depth of character. By the time her emotional explosions hit the screen, it comes across solely as emoting-for- Oscar work. Thing is, Kidman can act. She just doesn't plumb the depths here.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Portrait of a Lady, he would have paid . . .

$0.00

This is one case where I honestly don't award the "zero" with glee. If you like Henry James, then you'll probably like Portrait. The rest of us will be bored to death.

But Cranky has made it through other "zero" rated flicks without seeing a single soul get up and leave.

Click to buy films by Jane Campion
Click to buy films starring Nicole Kidman
Click to buy films starring John Malkovich

The Cranky Critic® is a Registered Trademark of, and his website is Copyright © 1995  -  2016   by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.