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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent performances but curtailed ending, March 15, 2013
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This review is from: The Portrait Of A Lady (Special Edition) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
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. The Isabel of Henry Jame's creation may have been headstrong, but she was never dreamy or prone to such flights of fancy. I also found the ending did a disservice to the story. There was no hope for Casper and Isabel and she should have been shown in the context of the ending of the novel. At the conclusion of the novel, Isabel was left with two choices - return to Osmond or rescue Pansy. Through Ralph, she had secured a financial legacy, with his passing she had acquired the freedom to make this choice, which were offered as a result of her own choices in life. An ending fitting for a complex tale.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 11, 2013 12:57:16 AM PDT
Stevie says:
The dvd has been out for a while so most of the general public know about the film,please tell us what quality is the bluray transfer?It comes from an unknown company to me.
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