Lolita (1997)

Its a fantastic film…I thought I would be creeped out.
But it was magnificent.
I haven’t read the book…and I am glad I didn’t…
I think it would have spoiled my viewing pleasure.

I think this should have been shown in theatres.

Irons and Swain are just…incredible.
Lolita’s tempting him…his face in the final scene.
Quilty (Frank Langella) oozing just the right mix of slime and sophistication.
Melanie Griffiths is a great choice for the “cow”.

The movement of the camera is also amazing. We are brought in close but never too close that we feel we are interrupting, and it pulls away giving us that feel of early 20th century America but never too far away to make us feel distant from the characters.

I don’t like long films…but this needed every minute…

Some scenes stand out from the brilliant directing and acting:

  • Drunk Quilty changing his lines at the hotel when talking about Lolita juxtaposed with the moths burning themselves in the flame (hint, hint).

  • The movement of Lo’s body underneath the white sheets when Irons eventually reaches for her.

  • When he sees her after 3 years, her pregnant belly is between them as he stands in the doorway, forever separating them.

  • Killing Quinty…nothing more needs to be said.

I don’t think we needed the opening scene to tell us it would go bad…my only red mark against the director.

The end is interesting…he dies in prison so he is narrating the film.
The director doesn’t give us the usual scene of him speaking to a detective…smart and effective.

His love suffocates Lolita…and the director uses the hotel rooms and the car for this. The rooms they stay in get smaller and less classy as the road trip goes on. The arguments in the car get more frequent, there are more and more scenes of her leaning out of the car.

The weird imbalance of father figure and lover wears on her as time passes.

He simps like crazy, upping her allowance for sex.
The killer scene is her return to their room with muddy feet and smudged lipstick. He knows what happened. She is rubbing it in his face.
He should have let her go but he can’t…
thrusting away in sorrow and shame at his weakness while she takes it, laughing.

The relationship is messy…
She loves him, hates him for “murdering” her mother and for smothering her. But she loses respect for him when she gets more allowance for sex, and all respect is gone after breaking him, laughing all the way.

The relationship is smothering, which damages her…but she is cunning and manipulative and enjoyed her times with him and the husband-to-be.
The three year reunion is interesting…the simp he is…he says all is forgiven and tries to buy her, while she says deadpan you’re crazy…and he just takes it!!

Finally, the ending.
He kills Quinty…blaming him for taking Lolita from him.
(He is the ultimate simp…what was he going to do? Lock her up forever?).
Anyway, he kills Quinty to assuage his own guilt, knowing that without him, she would have never gone with Quilty.

There is a sop thrown to the audience…Irons is saddened that Lolita’s voice isn’t among those of the children he hears singing in the valley.
But this is after he commits murder and is caught.
If Lolly had gone with him, he would have zero regrets.

Tangential…Swain’s parents were insane to let her act in this.

i think where i probably disagree with your analysis is that i don’t think Irons was ever her lover - he was a toy for her sexually at first and later a father, but never a lover.

Irons kills Quilty because Lolita said she had feelings for Quilty but not for Irons, while desperately trying to rationalize to himself that he’s somehow correcting some wrong as if Quilty imprisoned Lolita when in fact he himself ( Irons ) was the one who imprisoned her and Quilty saved her from him …

Quilty makes a mistake when he mentions “executions” to try to entice Irons, and this gives Irons the straw he was grasping for to feel morally superior to Quilty and he immediately starts shooting …

Irons kills Quilty to avoid facing the fact that he never meant anything to Lolita in the first place … even after after Lolita tells him point blank that she was never attracted to him he still manages to compartmentalize this away from having to face it …

i can understand that because it happened to me. i was with a girl that was amazing in bed ( she was legal ) and i had a boner for her 24/7 and she liked me … but i didn’t mean anything to her. after we broke up i blamed everybody but myself. i blamed her. i blamed the guy she cheated on me with. it never occurred to me until more than a decade later that nobody cheated on me - i cheated myself. before we even kissed for the first time she told me she will only date me on the condition that i have no feelings for her so i lied and told her that i didn’t. yet somehow it took me more than a decade to face the painful truth that this lie of mine was on me and nobody else. of course it wasn’t painful anymore a decade later which is why i was able to finally face what should have been obvious.

likewise Irons blames Lolita and Quilty when he is the real asshole himself … the pain of facing the truth ( that everything is his fault ) was too much for Irons’ character so he had to assign the guilt to somebody else … Lolita kept calling him “dad” … this essentially shielded her from being the one on whom Irons would take out his pain … he had to look elsewhere and settled on Quilty as the responsible party even though Quilty was literally the only blameless party in this mess … Irons had a gun and no real prospects for the future in terms of being able to fill the hole in his heart so he did the only thing that was left for him to do and killed Quilty …

the plot overall is a power struggle between Irons and Lolita and he loses …

He sells his soul to the devil when he attempts to abuse what he thinks is his power only to discover he doesn’t have any …

I think his first crucial mistake was not telling Lolita her mother was dead right away … his second mistake was his attempts to control her … his fatal mistake is his inability to face the painful truth …

the cow’s mistake was sending Lolita away … she knew Irons is marrying her for Lolita but she was in denial about it so she tried to use Lolita for bait and switch … and paid the price

the power pyramid was as follows:

( real power ) Lolita > Quilty > Irons > Cow ( imaginary power )

all of them abuse their power and all of them die for their sins.

Cow dies first because she is stupidest and her power the most shaky … Lolita dies last because she is the least needy and thus the most powerful.

they were all rats fighting in a bucket and Lolita was the bucket …

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most Hollywood parents are OK with directors raping their children.

in their defense they were also all raped themselves.

i actually saw Lolita in 1998 or so on cable - i wasn’t watching i just had it playing in background - i wouldn’t be able to relate to the subject matter back then as i was basically Lolita’s age …

but i remembered the scene where Quilty is killed … so ~ 25 years later i decided to watch it again to find out what was it that he has done to deserve it LOL

Actually I thought Irons was going to kill her.

When he realised he still loved her, he doesn’t go back in the car for the gun. He gives her the money, gets dismissed, and as you said, used Quilty as the scapegoat.

Not that Quilty was innocent with regard to other runaways…
I suppose this was his comeuppance.

Spot on about the power pyramid… :+1: :+1:

Actually I felt sorry for the cow…
Both Irons and Quilty had a lot of fun.
Quilty had balls though, and Irons lost his 30 years ago.

You know women who were once the hottest thing on the block,
who get upstaged by their blossoming daughters.
Cow knew this was happening,
(Irons wasn’t the first man she wanted to stick around)
but thought her fading charms were enough. :frowning_face:

I understand your Hollywood reference, but then how does one explain regular people who send their kids to Hollywood to be abused?
Just profiting off of sadism?

once somebody is conceived it’s too late to be considerate about their fate - they are going to die.

at least if you let a bunch of hollywood producers and directors rape them there is a chance that some good money will come from it.

will your kids hate you for it ? no - they will hate you for bringing them into this nightmarish world, not for teaching them how to survive in it.

the game most parents play is try to shelter children from reality - this can work if you can keep it up long enough for them to have grandkids and then you arrange to take care of the grandkids for them …

the key here is to keep the ball in motion - somebody in the family always needs to be young and stupid and believe that life is not hell then the others will play along …

however your kids will not have grandkids unless you prepare them for certain things ( how to make money for example ).

so it’s some kind of a balance between preparing them for the real world while also sheltering them from it and doing so with grandkids in mind because by the time you’re old and dying your kids won’t give a shit about you anymore - the grandkids will - but only if you manage to stay close enough to them and have them in the first place.

as long as your grandkids are close to you they will shame your kids into taking care of you otherwise you just wasted time and money reproducing.

this is why parents always ask their kids when they’re going to get married etc … they know the grinder needs fresh meat to kick the can down the road …

these hollywood parents play a different game - they hope to make enough money from their kids before they become independent to be able to retire and as long as you have money you never have to worry about being alone because somebody will always be trying to take it from you :slight_smile:

Trying…trying…working on this.

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