Thanks for the memories!
Very interesting film. Was caught on the premise when seeing the trailer but unsure as to what the outcome would be for the showing. As it turns out, it was a very good film.
Pretty good movie overall. First half was nothing special but it got better as it went along.
Tells a fascinating and unsettling true story, and does so well, without pretending to have all the answers.
It's the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, told from a different perspective. In this case, the story unfolds through the eyes of Jekyll's maid - Mary Reilly. Mary is fond of Jekyll - and Jekyll returns the feelings - and gradually as they spend more time together Mary begins to become aware that something strange is happening - especially after Jekyll informs the staff that his new assistant - Mr. Edward Hyde - would be coming to stay with them.I found this a strange movie in a lot of ways. I was completely unconvinced of the need for the familiar story to be told through someone else's eyes. I'm just not sure what that added to the story. The basics we already know. We're told a lot about Mary's background - she was abused (physically, and it seems sexually) by her father in her childhood - and something in her relationship with her father mirrors the whole Jekyll/Hyde narrative - but I'm not sure why I really would care. I mean, if you're going to watch any take on the Jekyll & Hyde story, don't you want it to be about Jekyll & Hyde?The stars in this were Julia Roberts and John Malkovich. I'm not a big fan of either of them. In this, I'd say that neither were really bad; neither were particularly strong. A sort of Gothic horror role is different from anything I've ever seen Roberts in. Much has been made of her attempt at an Irish accent. Those criticisms didn't really strike home with me. Malkovich, I thought, was pretty low key in both roles. Much has also been made about the fact that Jekyll and Hyde looked so similar that people should have realized right away that they were the same person. Well - yes and no. In an interesting twist, Hyde was clean-shaven and Jekyll wasn't - the reverse of what you might expect in a good/evil contrast. But because of that, it's believable to me that even if you realize there's a resemblance, it might be difficult to realize that they were the same person. I was all right with that. The atmosphere in this was decent enough. There was a sense of the griminess of Victorian London that came through, and while this wasn't at all frightening, it did have a relatively sustained "creepiness" factor to it.Overall, though, I thought this was rather slow-moving. There's not really much excitement in it; it's quite un-frightening for a horror movie. I'd recommend sticking with a more traditional adaptation of the story. (4/10)
Sure the film is slow and it does not bear the usual features of a horror movie: no drumming music, no obvious blood spillage. This is what is so good about it! This is a fantasy about life, fear, social class, fascination about progress in medicine, and repressed sexuality in nineteenth century London. Therefore it is much more powerful and I really enjoyed the atmosphere. Acting by John Malkovich was great, as usual, and Julia Roberts delivers here a good performance playing a character quite remote from her usual roles. Excellent choice of secondary characters, all well cast in the archetypal roles society was giving at the time: there was little escape from your destiny to remain in the social classes you were born. Imagination is a good escape to frustration.One of the best versions of Jekyll and Hyde.
OK, so this film was trashed by the critics... and I would bet a fortune that the average MTV generation movie-goer will practically fall asleep watching it - but I posit that their trouble with this film says more about them than it does about Frear's Gothic tale.There are weaknesses - above all the fact that everyone else (including Julia Roberts ) has an accent but Malkovitch refuses to even attempt one. What's an American accent doing in the middle of all this? Malkovitch also seems to be channeling his own performance in Frear's masterpiece, Dangerous Liaisons - but if you haven't seen that film you should love what he does in this one.But other than that, I found the slow pace to be totally gripping... The entire story is told from the viewpoint of Mary Reilly, and I have never seen Julia Roberts do a better job than here. She is wonderfully effective... it is worth watching this film only for her performance. But it is also worth watching because of the attention to period detail. You really get a feeling of what it must have been like to live in the 19th century. The manners, the utensils, the class differences...the psycho-sexual straight-jacket.I will not give any details about the film - I'll let those who watch it discover it for themselves. But I would like to say one thing about the pace. This is not an action film, it is not even a horror film in the traditional sense. It is mainly a story of discovery - dealing with the slow realization of hidden desires and uncontrolled motivations; as such it should not - nay, could not be done at a quicker pace. It's really too bad that fewer and fewer people today seem to be capable of watching something that is subtle and slow. The loss is theirs.
For me, this was the only version that workedof the few that I know. Very atmospheric. It also had a good notion of what it is that makes RLS's novel so interesting. So to me it's no surprise that "Reilly" was nowadays quite unsuccessful. More power to its fans!Mme Roberts' performance has here very fine qualitiesqualities of restraint and self-effacing that work for the movie and also reveal in a very effective way Mme Roberts' high understanding of her art .She is very good.It also absolutely revealed to me Malkovich as the extremely fine actor that he is. There are, for me, two films that exquisitely showcase Malkovich's artthis "Jekyll", and a Tournier adaptation, made by a German director (The Ogre ,by Volker Schlöndorff). These are two movies that I enormously admire.They are strikingly achieved films,and also very good parts, and I much prefer them to Malkovich's roles in The Glass Menagerie (1987) ,Shadows and Fog (1992),Of Mice and Men (1992),Con Air (1997) ,Al Di Là Delle Nuvole (1995),Les Misérables,etc..Yet the best thing in this "Reilly" is its visionary nature and visionary sensein the psychological sense. It has this surreal visionary gusto that I've appreciated the most. It plays like a film that sets itself up for something. I guess the famous critics couldn't reduce it to any political/_deconstructivist /academic agenda"Reilly" is a mere visionso it meant nothing to them! Fortunately, "Reilly" doesn't look mainstream in the Hollywoodian wayit really is of an independent, original conception. It's violent and attractive and intense and compact.The usual thesis is that Stevenson meant evil and good can cohabit in the same human individual. Yet Chesterton once rectified this and wrote: no, on the contrary, Stevenson obviously meant evil and good can't cohabit in the same person. The first will devour the second."Reilly" has some kind of a visionary life and liveliness. Also a force.