Directed by: Adrian Lyne
Starring: Dominique Swain (Lolita), Jeremy Irons (Humbert), Frank Langella (Quilty), Melanie Griffith (Charlotte)
Country: USA; Effed Up American Films
Language: English (Optional Eng Subs)
Genres: Old-Young Relationships, Teen-Childhood
Plot – Spoilers:
If you’re gonna watch this film, it’s highly recommended that you first watch Kubrick’s version. This one follows the book closer – it’s the same story, but Adrian Lyne’s Lolita opts to heighten and detract different aspects. And so it feels like a satisfying second read of a book or a second watching of a movie, because you get a fresher perspective and newer insights that might not have occurred to you earlier.
Humbert is more the pervert here, Lolita is more sexual and more manipulative, but ironically, both are also more tragic. In Kubrick’s Lolita, he begins with the ending which diminishes an angle that Humbert probably didn’t kill Quilty just for ruining Lolita. There, you were likely to feel that the murder was a transfer of blame to Quilty. Here, by placing the murder in chronological order, you’ve already seen the gamut of the perverse relationship. And while you could even allow Humbert the option that he might have truly loved Lolita and believed he’d have given her a happier life, it’s more apparent here that Humbert killed Quilty because he was killing his competitor. The wretched one who stole his Lo’s heart.
The closing lines of this film also further drives home Humbert’s guilt that he had destroyed Lolita forever:
And I knew that the hopelessly poignant thing…
was not Lolita’s absence from my side…
but the absence of her voice from that chorus.