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Lolita (1997)

The taboo subject of Vladimir Nabokov's brilliant novel Lolita — a long affair between a middle-aged man and an adolescent girl — has not succeeded in frightening off film adaptations. Already well-worked as arch comedy by Stanley Kubrick in 1962, director Adrian Lyne brings a different, more poignant tone to his 1997 effort. Jeremy Irons and Dominique Swain star as the illicit couple in question, and Lyne paints them beautifully as hopelessly lost souls. Irons adds another tormented romantic to his impressive gallery, and Swain is incredible — gracefully awkward, innocently manipulative, and powerfully helpless. Lyne dresses the story in elegiac lyricism while retaining much of the subtle humor of Nabokov's prose. Howard Atherton's gorgeous cinematography is appropriately wistful and bittersweet. Lolita is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1. Commentary by Lyne, eight deleted scenes, screen test for Swain (which looks more like a rehearsal), featurette, and a disappointing interactive screenplay that is nearly impossible to read. Keep case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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