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Portrait Of A Lady (Special Edition)

46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman stars in The Portrait Of A Lady, based on the Henry James novel of freedom and seduction. Isabel Archer (Kidman) is a young woman of daring independence and equally fierce desires. Her headstrong innocence is no match, however, for the manipulations of her duplicitous friend Madame Merle (Barbara Hershey) and the devious Gilbert Osmond (John Malkovich). Featuring an all-star supporting cast including Sir John Gielgud, Shelley Winters, Christian Bale, Viggo Mortensen and Mary-Louise Parker, writer/director Jane Campion’s (The Piano) vision is a lavish, richly layered epic of seduction, betrayal and hopeful triumph. Nominated for Two Academy Awards Including Best Supporting Actress (Barbara Hershey)


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Nicole Kidman, John Malkovich, Barbara Hershey, Christian Bale
  • Directors: Jane Campion
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: December 11, 2012
  • Run Time: 144 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B009B1EPQ4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,114 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By K. Campbell on July 24, 2012
Format: DVD
This movie has haunted me since I first saw it in its theatrical release. I hadn't read the book when I saw the movie but corrected that after viewing. The movie is mysterious at the end and I hoped to gain some insight in reading the book. I did. The movie is very true to James' novel which ends ambiguously. The movie slowly unfolds and for some there won't be enough action but if you like period pieces that are very literary and allow one to think during scenes you will like Campion's direction of this story.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Glo in Philly on April 7, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I purchased the Henry James novel, Portrait of a Lady, several years ago and what I remember most about the book is that I could not manage to remain interested long enough to move beyond the first few chapters. During his lifetime, Williams James criticized his younger brother's novels for, in so many words, containing too much tedious detail that only stood in the way of the plot. I could not agree more, However, what Director Jane Campion has done with this story is anything but tedious. She begins with rich settings and unusual camera angles then brings the characters to life with a very convincing all-star cast. Nicole Kidman does a fabulous portrayal of Isabel Archer, the independent-minded and impetuous young American heiress who is so intent on remaining single - if only to avoid marriage to a 'proper man of means' because it is what's 'expected' of her - that she finds herself running from the one man who, out of genuine love and concern, pursues her across an ocean while she allows herself to be swept away by the cold and cunning Gilbert Osmond, most excellently portrayed by John Malkovich. Be sure to watch the bonus feature, 'The making of Portrait of a Lady.'
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By roguewarrior on April 8, 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I haven't read Henry James' novel, but I thought that the film was absolutely beautiful no matter how faithful or unfaithful it was to the original story. Jane Campion does not disappoint: each still from the film is like a painting. Gorgeous settings and exquisite costumes. The story is pretty clear for someone who like myself is not familiar with the novel. Young, beautiful and innocent Isabel Archer does not want to get married to the first or second gentleman who proposes to her. She believes that there is more for her in life. She wants to see other choices and experience an adventure. She meets Madame Merle and gets enwrapped in her manipulations. However, I do not want to tell you the whole plot. Some reviewers complained about the acting, but again I found no fault with it. Kidman's Isabel was genuine gentle misguided creature, whose suffering I could feel while watching the film. Hershey's character from the very beginning had some malignancy about her, and Malkovich was purely evil. Donovan's character was my favorite: quiet, sensitive, intelligent and loving. So give it a chance, watch it and savor it yourself. Get lost in the beautiful painting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By lawrence chan on November 14, 2014
Format: DVD
I forgot about this opulent jewel of a movie. I also forgot what a fine actress Nicole Kidman can be.
John Malkovich is of course an indispensable asset to any film of this calibre.

this is a finely crafted period piece endowed with unassailable integrity and finesse.

The chemistry between the characters creates a potion that evokes a spectrum of human emotion that is both refined and visceral at the same time. The interaction and dialogue are powerful and subtle, at times unnerving with a restraint that threatens to unravel and unleash the ugliness of unbridled emotion.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Reine des Coeurs VINE VOICE on March 15, 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
First of all, no adaptation can ever equal the great book by Henry James. He had a gift not only for writing about displacement but also for writing complicated women - women who strive for a better place, a better solution and a better role to fill than the limited one afforded to them by society. Isabel Archer is one of his greatest creations and I thought she was wonderfully played by Nicole Kidman. This is a difficult role and it could not have been easy for her to take it on as Isabel runs the gamut of emotions from start to finish. She inhabits the role of Isabel - of being that woman who longs for something more, something elusive, something different. Her co-stars provide her with the very thing she longed for, to the ultimate sad outcome.

Martin Donovan and Barbara Hershey deserve extra accolades for the believability they lent to their characterizations of Ralph Touchett and Serena Merle. Ralph is the unacknowledged heart of the story until his sad demise and Isabel's realization of his unintended contribution to her now sad life. Merle, the consummate American sophisticate and expatriate, is peeled apart layer by layer on screen. She manages expertly to be a mosaic of a person - a different character with every person she encounters - but she is ultimately trapped by the choices she has made. In some ways, she is more tragic than Isabel and in other ways, she is more devious than Gilbert. The hardest roles to fill onscreen are those of the selfless (Ralph) and the complex (Merle). Martin and Barbara were perfectly cast.

The direction by Jane Campion was a bit frazzled as she inserted certain dream sequences which I found unnecessary and bizarre.
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