Saturday, November 23, 2013

Portrait of a Lady review

It has been forever since my last post. The holiday season is upon us in the retail world, and it just keeps on getting crazier and crazier with each passing day. My days off have been recently spent traveling and trying to finish some cross stitch projects (more on that in another post), but I did finally get around to watching a costume drama piece that has been on my watch list for forever (not kidding on this one).

The Portrait of a Lady is a film adaptation of the same book, written Henry James, and is directed by one of my favorites, Jane Campion. After waiting nine months (yes, nine) for a copy to come in at the library, I rushed home to watch it, only to be very disappointed.

It's very rare for me not to like a costume drama, and I had high hopes for this one since Campion was directing and it starred Nicole Kidman, who is also one of my favorite actresses. The story itself though was downright dull, none of the characters were likable in the least, and the overall pace was about as fast as my shower drain with a giant hair clog.

While I have not read the original book, I read through the synopsis via Wikipedia and it seemed like a fairly close adaptation of the original content. Supposedly James' story is supposed to examine the themes of "betrayal, personal freedom, and responsibility." About the only the only thing I got out of the 2 hours and 20 minutes I spent watching this film was some finished cross stitch.

And then the costumes. These are the main reason I sometimes watch my costume dramas. Lighting was often so dark it was hard to get a glimpse of what the dresses even looked like, and the few you did see had maybe less than a minute of screen time. For example, the lovely confection on Kidman here:

Was visible only long enough to make me want to know more about it, for the simple reason that I couldn't see enough of it! In my attempts to discover more, I have found there are very few movie stills from the film to be found. Unless of course you're searching for the image where it looks like Kidman is fighting a massive migraine.

Yeah, I would probably look like that too if I had to watch the movie again.

Movie - 1.5 out of 5
Costumes - 3 out of 5

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