Lolita (1997)

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  •  (3 out of 5 stars)

Director Adrian Lyne adapts Vladimir Nabokov's novel Lolita for the second time after Kubrick's 1962 adaptation. Lyne amps up the erotic element, which wouldn't have been allowed for Kubrick to do in 1962. This version plays more like an erotic thriller than a dark comedy, which I guess you'd expect from director Adrian Lyne. There is awkward sexual tension and humor in this film but the jokes don't land because Lyne has never done comedy. Jeremy Irons plays Humbert Humbert with serious intensity while Dominique Swain plays Lolita effectively. Melanie Griffith is probably too attractive to play Lolita's mom (why would Humbert reject her?), and Frank Langella as Clare Quilty is not as fun as Peter Sellers was in Kubrick's version. The movie is scene for scene a more faithful adaptation of Nabokov's novel, but it seems longer than Kubrick's version even though the runtime is shorter. Without the wit of Kubrick or Nabokov it drags on. Still Lyne provides some memorable imagery and erotic tension, and it's worth seeing for fans of the book.

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