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To Die For

4.1 out of 5 stars 189 customer reviews

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(Nov 10, 1998)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A black comedy in which an ammoral and ambitious news personality seduces a teenager to convince him to murder her husband.
Genre: Feature Film-Comedy
Rating: R
Release Date: 7-AUG-2001
Media Type: DVD


If anyone ever doubts whether Nicole Kidman is a good actress, they should immediately be required to watch this outrageously wicked comedy from 1995, for which Kidman deservedly won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Leading Role. While director Gus Van Sant handles the fact-based satire with razor-sharp precision, Kidman delivers a deliciously devious performance as Suzanne Stone, a small-town New Hampshire housewife who fancies herself the next Barbara Walters, Jane Pauley, Diane Sawyer, and Maria Shriver all rolled up into one meticulously coiffed package. So determined is she to have a successful career on TV that she'll stop at nothing--even the calculated murder of her husband (Matt Dillon)--to get the attention she feels entitled to. To carry out her scheme she recruits some unwitting local teenagers including one boy (Joaquin Phoenix, matching Kidman's excellence) whose infatuation with Suzanne leads to sexual escapades and predictably troublesome consequences. It's a satirical comedy in Van Sant's capable hands, but it's so close to tabloid reality that the film never seems implausible--which only gives it a funnier, more blood-chilling quality of humor. Featuring Illeanna Douglas, George Segal, and Seinfeld alumnus Wayne Knight in memorable supporting roles, this is one of the best comedies of the '90s--especially if you prefer comedies with a decidedly darker edge. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Matt Dillon, Nicole Kidman, Casey Affleck, Ileana Douglas, Alison Folland
  • Directors: Gus Van Sant
  • Producers: Laura Ziskin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 10, 1998
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 076781777X
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,636 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "To Die For" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you would like to see a really great performance by Nicole Kidman, pick up a copy of "To Die For" at your local video store. Directed by Gus Van Sant, screenplay by Buck Henry from the book by Joyce Maynard (both Henry and Maynard have bit parts in the film), "To Die For" is a wicked little gem of a film.

Kidman won the Golden Globe award for Best Actress for her performance, and frankly I thought she should have gotten the Academy Award (unless I remember incorrectly, I don't think she was even nominated for an Academy Award for it). But she is absolutely brilliant in it: chilling, funny, scary, sexy, and horrifically evil.

Kidman portrays Suzanne Stone-Maretto: a devious, calculating, self-centered woman who manipulates Larry Maretto (a very sympathetic performance by Matt Dillon) into marrying her, quickly tires of him when he tries to stand in her way of her greatest ambition in life, which is to be the next Diane Sawyer, and soon convinces her teenage lover to kill him for her. Sound familiar? "To Die For" was loosely based on the real-life story of Pamela Smart, who seduced her 15-year old lover into murdering her husband.

Joaquin Phoenix is Jimmy Emmett, the hapless student who becomes Suzanne's lover; Lydia Mertz is Alison Follard, a young girl who idolizes her; and Casey Affleck is Russel Hines, another student who gets caught up in the scheme. Illeana Douglas is great as Larry's acidic, loving sister Janice, who also gets one of the best lines in the film, and at the very beginning, no less; and Dan Hedaya is Larry's father, Joe Maretto. Dan Hedaya is a master of the "Believe me, you don't want to see me mad" performance, with obvious menace just under a calm surface. The casting is great, and the performances are all right on target.

Look for uncredited cameos by George Segal as a conference speaker, and David Cronenberg as...you'll just have to go see it.
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Format: DVD
To Die For is an excellent, detailed portrait of a female narcissist. This movie is no comedy. If you ever have the great misfortune of tangling with one of these psychopaths, trust me, you WONT be laughing.

Nicole Kidman plays Suzanne Stone, the girl who grows up as the center of her family's never-ending attention, the Golden Child Who Can Do No Wrong. As life goes on, Suzanne hones her manipulation skills, and marries Larry (played by Matt Dillon), who reflects back to Suzanne the image of herself that she wants to believe and see. Perfect!

That is, until Larry demands that the marriage include him. In bed one morning soon after being wed, Larry wants to make love with Suzanne. She icily shoves his hand away saying "get your hands off me." She has to get ready for work, to "fix my face" for the world. It's performance time, and Suzanne is always on. Larry just doesn't get it. Their life is about HER, not them. When Larry broaches the topics of having children and her helping him out in the family restaurant business, Suzanne decides he has to go. This girl has global aspirations. She won't be marginalized with motherhood and a family business!

When Suzanne lands a job at a community TV station, she turns a small job fetching coffee and running errands into her role as the weather girl reporting from "The Weather Center." She soon executes one of her many grandiose schemes: making a documentary about high school teenagers in their natural habitat. Enter Joaquin Phoenix's character Jimmy Emmet, an introspective but deeply lost teenager who falls hard for Suzanne. She soon sexually manipulates Jimmy into doing her bidding, with promises of eternal love and "then we can always be together.
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Format: DVD
"To Die For" is a great little gem of a movie that, in my opinion, ranks as one of the best dark comedies of the 1990s. Nicole Kidman, in one of her finest performances, is stunning as Suzanne Maretto - her maiden name is Stone - a completely self-absorbed, amoral, and utterly ruthless young woman who will let nothing stand in the way of her obtaining her goal of being a "television news star". The film is shot in the style of a slightly wacky TV documentary, which only adds to the fun, as we see the "post-tragedy" interviews with those who were involved with the late Miss Stone. Stone is an attractive but cold-blooded blonde in a small New England city who is desperate to become a celebrity on a national TV News Network. As proof of her warped psyche, she tells the audience "You're a nobody if you're not on TV" - which unfortunately does seem to accurately describe the feelings of many people these days.

She's also determined to move up the social ladder in her little town, and so as the film begins she seduces and marries the handsome quarterback of the high school football team, Larry Maretto (Matt Dillon), the most popular boy in town. Larry's sister despises Suzanne and sees right through her facade, but he is so entranced he doesn't listen. Larry - a traditional, decent, but old-fashioned young man - goes to work in his father's profitable pizzeria, and expects someday to inherit the family business. Suzanne, meanwhile, gets a job as the weather forecaster for the local rinky-dink TV station, and begins to have dreams of glory. One of the darkly funny aspects of this film is that for all of Suzanne's scheming and ruthlessness she's not very bright, and her attempts to sound and act "sophisticated" are often hilariously inept.
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