The Portrait of a Lady (1996) - Drama, Romance

Hohum Score



An American girl inherits a fortune and falls into a misguided relationship with a gentleman confidence artist whose true nature, including a barbed and covetous disposition, turns her life into a nightmare.

IMDB: 6.2
Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Nicole Kidman, John Malkovich
Length: 144 Minutes
PG Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 20 out of 67 found boring (29.85%)

One-line Reviews (56)

Terribly boring.

Being a fan of slow-paced, foreign, and period piece movies, I was pretty surprised at how much this movie bored me.

Too long, too dark, too boring, too much.

Characters who appear to be bored and indifferent to their own lives not surprisingly fail to rouse in the audience any compensating interest.

To make it even more boring, every character delivers their line in a flat and monotonous way.

No plot, no climax, no ending.

We've seen him soar to great heights in the paradoxical "Being John Malkovich" and "The Glass Menagerie", but here his monotone is overly droll and predictable, almost as if he is playing off himself in a Saturday Night Live sketch.

Shame on the director for depicting Isabel Archer (Nicole Kidman) as a rather plain, uninteresting young woman with a goofy hairdo.

The pace is slower than a snail, with many self indulgent artistic shots in between the already very slow plot.

every time she was in a scene I couldn't help trying to spot her time machine, she even had that new contrived horrible spoiled nasal Californian accent, you know instead of saying 'never ever' they say 'Navaar Avaaaar'.

British thespian Sir John Gielgud has a very small part, really too small to make a deep impression, while John Malkovich -- what can I say -- is completely miscast, playing the villain with an irritating, bored, self-conscious effeteness that is totally wrong in the Europeanized American Gilbert Osmond.

Nicole Kidman's acting career got off to a promising start with films like "Dead Calm" and "Flirting", but over the next ten years or so she seemed to get stuck in something of a rut, appearing in far too many dull or second-rate films like "Far and Away", "Batman Forever", "Practical Magic" and the dreadful "Moulin Rouge".

It is, like many examples of "heritage cinema", visually attractive, but it is also rather emotionally cold and too slow-moving.

That may be the way how upper class speaks, but it is terribly dull and emotionless in a film.

Presumably until Osmond dies, but that man I would suspect will outlive everyone and Isabel will never leave him because if she did, she'd betray her own original conceit that she wanted to live an exciting and meaningful life.

Consider Campion's "Bright Star", also set in the 19th century, and "Holy Smoke", also about an adventurous expatriate, both of which handle this material in fresh and exciting ways.

The movie bored me all the way to kingdom come, and never in my life have I been so bored.

Don't waste your time.

All in all one of the worst movies I've ever seen.

There is no emotional climax in the film either, everything is just plain and boring.

boring .

Ralph as played by Martin Donovan and looking like a dissipated Jeff Bridges is insipid and dull.

Even the characters are forgettable, the scenes far too long, the pace horrible slow.

He is completely ill equipt as a seducer both physically and mentally but then again Ms Archer has about the same kit, therefore the question is, does anyone care what happens to empty boring people, in an empty boring film?

Running around 2 and a half hours, with the winsome trappings such as graceful camera-work, majestic art production and an engrossing score, the film is Campion's most ambitious project to date, it is a crying shame to receive the cold shoulder.

But we still find it difficult to follow what Isabel would see in him.

Ironically, it is given to the veteran actor John Gielgud (albeit perhaps unwittingly) to pronounce judgment upon this film in his character's dying scene: as Isabel fixes upon him an intent gaze, rapt with the serious business of grasping to her bosom a pearl of wisdom from this aged man poised on the brink of his ultimate odyssey, Gielgud emits as his final word-to-the-wise an elaborate yawn.

) tells the fascinating story of Isabel in unforgettable pictures and very true to the original novel of Henry James.

The whole look to the picture was drab and I really did not like the heroine she was to annoying at best.

The most pretentious movie I ever saw...

Consequently, the movie ambles along, technically perfect but ultimately boring.

The narrative jumps all over the place, skipping the important and dwelling on the mundane, while most of the players behave completely inexplicably.

Some people may be however bored by the amount of dialogue and the lack of pace, and music.

A terrible bore .

It was dark, nothing seemed to happen, the characters were uninteresting so I did not care at all what happened to them.

Boring .

John Malcovitch plays her cruel and controlling husband, and is absolutely fascinating to watch as he subtly bends Isabel to his will.

In fact the most enjoyable part of this movie was the scene where Mr. Malkovich twirls the umbrella in an ambiguously literal attempt to hypnotize Isabel.

I suspect that the car-crash action movie fans who find this too slow walked into the wrong movie-theatre or rented the wrong DVD.

Okay, NOTHING compares to "The Piano", but it's simply stunning.

No one, especially Isabel Archer, is let off the hook for their misguided choices and her fate is tragic yet completely plausible and, as laid out by James, completely compelling.

Possibly it may bethat Nicole Kidman was in this film; and I find her to be a fascinating,wonderful actress(beautiful to boot).

Did he waste all her money?

"Portrait of a Lady" is a fascinating and riveting film, full of deep emotions that will move and touch you.

Nicole Kidman was stunning to star as Isabel Archer.

In this curious version of James's energetic novel even death is a bore.

Nonetheless the overall effect of sound and image is one of compelling beauty.

I was so disappointed when I left the theater, I was tempted to ask for a refund!!!!

"The Portrait of a Lady" is immensely dull.

And how can the same director that has made the two most boring movies I have ever seen, "Two Friends" and this one, also be the same person behind "Sweetie" and "Holy Smoke" - the two finest examples of a movie drawing real characters in real places I have ever seen?

What an intense movie, strong perfomances of the cast, especially Nicole Kidman and John Malkovich.

This was maybe the most boring film I ever watched.

Viggo Mortensen is continually unsatisfactory and uninteresting; but he has been written as a completely boring character.

I walked out of the theater on first viewing.

Only when she gets to Florence does she finally meet someone who can match her invisible bag of charm, he comes in the very camp average form of Gilbert Osmond played by John Malkovich, he does however speak (again slightly camply) in a consistent whispering single tone, that similar to serial killers, this seems for the most part to be just what Mssss Archer had been missing whilst plagued by all of those Testosterone touting 'oh so predictable' men.

It's worth watching just for intellectual people who like drama movies.