Claiborne (1995) is probably my favorite of the new releases this
week, and stars Kathy Bates in the title role, and Jennifer Jason
Leigh as her daughter.
the film opens, we hear two woman struggling a the top of the stairs.
One falls to the bottom, and the other comes down the stairs, then
goes into the kitchen, seemingly out of her head, grabs a marble
rolling pin, comes back out, and seems ready to finish off the fallen
woman, when the postman arrives.
Cut to a New York
newspaper office, where Leigh is arguing for a plum of a story with
her editor, and is given a FAX with a clipping of the story of her
mother's arrest. After an absence of 15 years, she returns to Maine,
and a mother that she obviously doesn't much like. This Stephan King
adaptation is told something like peeling away the layers of an
onion, getting us closer and closer to what happened both in this
death and in the death of Leigh's father 15 years before.
Bates should have had an Oscar for her portrayal of this curmudgeonly
old Mainer who had never been off of her island, and had worked
for the dead woman for low pay most of her life. An example of her
personality is the line, "Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman
has to hold on to."
This is as good a
character-driven suspense drama as I have seen in a while.
General consensus: three
stars. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 3/4, Maltin 3.5/4, Apollo 77.
summary. 86% positive reviews.
- With their
dollars ... it did OK; grossed $22 million in the USA,
$24 million overseas.
guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of
excellence, about like three and a half stars
from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm
watchability, about like two and a half stars
from the critics. The fives are generally not
worthwhile unless they are really your kind of
material, about like two stars from the critics.
Films under five are generally awful even if you
like that kind of film, equivalent to about one
and a half stars from the critics or less,
depending on just how far below five the rating
guideline: A means the movie is so good it
will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not
good enough to win you over if you hate the
genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an
open mind about this type of film. C means it will only
appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover
appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you
like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if
you love the genre. F means that the film is not only
unappealing across-the-board, but technically
inept as well.
Based on this
description, this film is a B-.
the Movie House home page