#SundayMovieReview – Dolores Claiborne

Last night, as I was getting bored writing my psychology assignment, I decided to watch a psychological  thriller movie. I was faced with either watching ‘Mulholland Drive’ once again or ‘Dolores Claiborne’ for the first time. Dolores Claiborne won – and so it was at half past midnight that I sat down to watch this intense drama.

The movie deals with Dolores Claiborne, a maid who has been accused of murdering the old woman she was caring for – Vera Donovan. Selena St. George, Dolores’ estranged daughter arrives in town hearing the news. The movie shows the struggles between mother and daughter as the police grapple with the question of whether or not Dolores killed Vera with a rolling pin. Some dark secrets from the past are revealed as Selena grapples with a relapse of a suppressed memory and is forced to realign her attitude towards her mother.

The movie is based on a book by the same name written by Stephen King. I have not read the book yet but looks like I will, pretty soon! This is the kind of movie that explores the human mind in great detail, the path of relationships, the motivations and drivers that rule our mind and the dangers of a depressed mind. The drama that unfolds by means of flashbacks and otherwise is not to be missed. For some reason, the past is shown as more colorful while the present is grey. Perhaps, in the eyes of Dolores, the past was better even with the turmoil that she had to endure (after all she had a job, a husband and a loving daughter) as opposed to the present where she does not have anything to hope for – her employer was dead and her only daughter refused to believe her. This was as good as having no one and nothing optimistic to look forward to.

Kathy Bates is impeccable as Dolores Claiborne; so is Jennifer Jason Leigh as Selena St. George. Judy Parfitt does not get as much screen space as these two, but in the limited scenes, she is quite good as Vera Donovan. Christopher Plummer sums up the casting brilliance by portraying the strangely unemotional Detective John Mackey. The cold of Nova Scotia turned out to be an apt location for the movie to be shot. The cold and the grey combine well to give that eerie feeling, which could be one of the reasons why some reviewers prefer to cast this movie in the genre of horror. I would not – this is purely a psychological thriller to me sans horror.

I’m giving a rating of 4 out of 5 for Dolores Claiborne directed by Taylor Hackford. Watch it for the cast, the story and the possibilities of the mind.