The Portrait of a Lady (1996)

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By Scott Goldfine

As directed by Jane Campion (“The Piano”), this adaptation of Henry James’ classic novel has the right cast and look, but little else. The story, about an American woman (Nicole Kidman) abroad who loses herself after being manipulated into marrying a heartless controller (John Malkovich), unfolds in excruciatingly slow fashion.

Campion has mistaken ambiguity and tedium for subtlety and poignancy. The impressive cast also includes Barbara Hershey, Mary-Louise Parker, Shelley Winters, Shelley Duvall and Christian Bale. Rated R.

GRADE: C-

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