Released 1998


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Movie Summary

Adrian Lyne
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Lolita is a 1997 drama directed by Adrian Lyne, and based on a novel of the same name written by Vladamir Nabokov. The film follows Humber Humbert (Jeremy Irons), a French literature professor, who arrives in New Hampshire to take a teaching position at a local college. While looking for a place to stay, Humbert meets Charlotte Haze (Melanie Griffith), a young widow, and decides to rent a room from her after seeing her beautiful daughter, Lo (Dominique Swain). Obsessed by the thought of a childhood sweetheart who died when she was young, Humbert falls in love with the young girl whom he nicknames "Lolita." To stay close to her, Humbert marries Charlotte, but continues with his obsession in a private diary. Eventually, Charlotte discovers the diary, becoming angry and disgusted. A few moments later, Charlotte is struck and killed by a car while getting mail from the mailbox. Charlotte's death leaves Humbert the sole guardian of the girl. The two set-off on a cross-country trip, staying in motels. Lolita slowly begins to wrap Humbert around her little finger. Eventually, Humbert and Lolita settle in the town of Beardsley, where Humbert takes a teaching job. Lolita eventually tires of Humbert, running away with playwright Clare Quilty (Frank Langella). A few years later, Humbert receives a letter form Lolita, asking for money. When the two meet again, however, things are not the same.moreless


Metacritic Score

  • 80

    The New York Times

    The film's master stroke is its understanding that this is Humbert's story, told in his own lyrical voice, from his own passionate, sad, tortured perspective.

  • 50

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    Except for a memorably haunted performance by Jeremy Irons as the conflicted Humbert Humbert, what the new version lacks most of all is inspiration.

  • 30

    Variety David Rooney

    The bad news, however, is that after an intriguing opening stretch, and despite Jeremy Irons' potent lead performance, the overlong film becomes repetitive, flat and often dull.

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Psychological, Love & Romance, Classics