Lolita (1997)

Lolita (1997) poster

Lolita (1997) poster

I watched Lolita 1997 version after watching Stanley Kubrick’s black and white version of the film which was released in 1962. New version is sexier than the old version and it is in color. Lolita is younger, sexier, naughtier and more rebellious in this version. This film is more faithful to the novel than its earlier film version as there was more freedom in 1990s than in the 60s to film this controversial story.

Lolita is a 1997 French-American film directed by Adrian Lyne. It is the second film of Vladimir Nabokov‘s novel of the same name and stars Jeremy Irons as Humbert Humbert and Dominique Swain as Dolores “Lolita” Haze, with supporting roles by Melanie Griffith as Charlotte Haze, and Frank Langella as Clare Quilty.

In 1947, Humbert Humbert (Jeremy Irons), a European professor of French literature, a widower, arrives in the United States with the hope of taking a teaching position at Beardsley College. Before the job he has his summer vacation and he intends to find accommodation and in his search for renting a room he meets a dejected widow Charlotte Haze (Melanie Griffith.) He accidentally sees her adolescent daughter Dolores (Dominique Swain,) also called “Lo.” Obsessed from boyhood with girls of this age (whom he calls “nymphets,”) partly because of a boyhood sexual experience and subsequent tragic loss of his sweetheart, Humbert is immediately attracted to Lo and decides to take the room.

A Scene from Lolita (1997)

A Scene from Lolita (1997)

Later, as it increases of his chances of gaining access to Lo, Humbert agrees to marry Charlotte on her request. But Charlotte soon discovers that he is more attracted to her daughter than to her after reading his diary entries admiring Lolita and making Charlotte a mockery. She is furious and shouts at Humbert and runs to post some letters threatening him that he will not see that “brat” again. Unfortunately (or fortunately for Humbert rather) she meets with a car accident and dies on the spot.

Her death frees Humbert to pursue a sexual and emotional relationship with Lo, whom he nicknames “Lolita“. Humbert takes advantage of Lolita and starts to have sexual pleasures with her. He takes her from one motel to another while traveling across the United States. He is constantly interrupted by a strange character called Clare Quilty in different disguises. In fact Quilty happens to be another man who takes sexual advantages of young Lolita and from there onwards the confrontation with Humbert and Qulity comes to the scene.

Dominique Swain as Lolita is outstanding and I don’t think the director could have found anyone better. She is a coltish young thing and ideal for the film. Jeremy Irons also plays an excellent role as Humbert Humbert. My only worry is that Frank Langella is too old to attract a young girl like Lolita and the role could have been played by someone younger and better. Melanie Griffith is also hopeless as Charlotte Haze and she messes up the whole first few scenes by her meaningless acting.


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