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4.0 out of 5 stars 320 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Adapted from the novel by Vladimir Nabokov previously filmed by Stanley Kubrick in 1962, Lolita stars Jeremy Irons as Humbert Humbert, a college literature professor. In early adolescence, Humbert fell hopelessly and tragically in love with a girl his own age, and, as he grew into adulthood, he never lost his obsession with "nymphets," teenagers who walk a fine line between being a girl and a woman. While looking for a place to live after securing a new teaching position, he meets Charlotte Haze Melanie Griffith, a pretentious and annoying woman who seems desperately lonely and is obviously attracted to Humbert. Humbert pays her little mind until he meets her 13-year-old daughter Lolita Dominique Swain, the image of the girl that Humbert once loved. Humbert moves into the Haze home as a boarder and eventually marries Charlotte in order to be closer to Lolita. When Charlotte finds out about Humbert's attraction to her daughter, she flees the house in a rage, only to be killed in an auto accident. Without telling Lolita of her mother's fate, Humbert takes her on a cross-country auto trip, where their relationship begins to move beyond the traditional boundaries of stepfather and step-daughter. Lolita proved to be controversial in the United States due to its clear if not explicit depiction of sex between a middle-aged man and an underaged girl; no major studio was willing to release it in America, and it finally had its U.S. premiere on the Showtime cable network. This version, directed by Adrian Lyne, was publicized as being more faithful to Nabokov's book than Stanley Kubrick's adaptation which was scripted by Nabokov himself; however, it manages to be closer to the letter of the novel without capturing its spirit and tone as well as Kubrick did.

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jeremy Irons, Dominique Swain, Melanie Griffith, Frank Langella, Suzanne Shepherd
  • Directors: Adrian Lyne
  • Writers: Stephen Schiff, Vladimir Nabokov
  • Producers: Joel B. Michaels, Mario Kassar
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: April 15, 2003
  • Run Time: 137 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (320 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008H2L2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,434 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lolita" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
There is a moment in Adrian Lyne's LOLITA that effectively captures the twisted, yet surprisingly innocent feeling that Vladimir Nabokov wanted to portray with his novel. When Lolita, wonderfully played by newcomer Dominique Swain, is rushing up the stairs to say goodbye to Humbert Humbert (Jeremy Irons), before she leaves for summer camp, you realize that the look of excitement in Jeremy Irons face, and the nervous posture he has is that of an innocent child in love.
Indeed it is true that Humbert is a child at heart, a fact which becomes clear early in the movie, when we learn a little bit about Humbert's first encounter with love and its subsequent painful and unexpected loss.
It seems impossible to not compare Lyne's version with Stanley Kubrick's version, made over 35 years ago. I have to admit that I am an avid Kubrick fan, and that I always thought his version of Nabokov's novel, if not faithfully reproduced, was a classic. So it was that with apprehension (and some morbid curiosity) I decided to watch Lyne's version. Boy was I blown away.
It is a terrible thing that our society as a whole, at this day and age, can't see pass the taboo that apparently clogs the story. It is sad because Lyne's LOLITA is an excellent and beautiful film in every respect. From Lyne's carefully crafted visual style, to the outstanding performance given by both Swain but especially by Irons (this is his movie), to the heart-breaking music score by legendary composer Ennio Morricone. Everything is in place here.
It is clear that Lyne has a profound understanding of the novel, he successfully directs the story in a way the slowly engulfs you and never seems to fall into the traps that plagued Kubrick's version.
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Format: VHS Tape
The novel of "Lolita" has justly been called one of the best works written in the English language since Shakespeare. The fact that its author was not a native speaker of English makes his achievement all the more amazing. "Lolita" simply must be read, and any attempts to convert it to the medium of film must inevitably suffer in comparison. That said, Adrian Lyne's film is as close to perfect a translation from book to screen as one could hope to find. The performances are pitch-perfect: Dominique Swain, in her first film role captures the essence of Nabakov's creation, at once gangly and seductive; endearing, infuriating and a definite "starlet". The viewer, like Humbert, is quickly wooed and won. Melanie Griffith gives her small role as Charlotte a tarnished dignity and a weary grace, and Frank Langella does what he can with the enigmatic, barely-seen Quilty. But Jeremy Irons simply carries the film. Known for plumbing baser human emotions in all his films, he embues Humbert Humbert with a simple humanity that is heartbreaking to watch. To admit to liking Humbert even a little is uncomfortable--it means empathizing on some level with the force that drives him, even as we may be disgusted by his actions, but it is impossible not to be charmed. Irons drops his customary reserved demeanor to mine the humor in the role, and his voice-overs of dialog straight from the book are most effective.
This film version succeeds where Stanley Kubrick's 1962 version failed in remaining true to the spirit of Nabakov's vision. I can't recommend it highly enough. It's just a shame that the self-serving hypocrisy of the studio heads involved prevented its American theatrical release when so much commercial swill packed with violence and degradation of all kinds passes for entertainment in this country.
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Format: DVD
Nabokov's "Lolita" is a masterwork of psychological fiction of such complexity that one marvels that it could be rendered into film, but Adrian Lyne's version is a splendid success. Jeremy Irons is perfectly cast as Humbert. His superb portrayals of obsession include: Damage, Dead Ringers, M. Butterfly, Swann in Love, and Betrayal, so it is not surprising that he is so convincing as Humbert. What is astounding is the chemistry between Irons and Dominique Swain as Lolita. Swain who had no previous acting experience simply either cues off Irons or puts her own natural instincts as a fourteen year old in Director Lyne's hands and delivers not only a stunning nymphet portrayal, but its destructive effect upon her life.
In the novel Humbert maintained he, "...had the utmost respect for ordinary children with their purity and vulnerability....But how his heart beat when, among the innocent throng, he espied a demon child...maidens who, to certain bewitched travelers, twice or many time older than they, reveal their true nature which is not human, but nymphic (that is demoniac)". It is this delusional obsession of his that traps Lolita. Ultimately in the depths of his remorse and self-hatred for what he has done to her,and to cleanse himself of his obsession, he murders the debauched Quilty,who has "cheated me of my redemption". Viewers will want to read the novel to experience Nabokov's marvelous art and the full range of Humbert's ironic intricate character.
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