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Dolores Claiborne

In the long history of Stephen King novels adapted for the screen, few have a better pedigree than 1995's terrific drama, DOLORES CLAIBORNE.

Kathy Bates is VERY good as our title character, an eccentric, strong and lonely woman accused of murdering a wealthy woman for whom she's cared for decades.

Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) is also terrific as Dolores estranged daughter, a reporter in NYC who has no desire to come back to New England and her mother's problems.

But Dolores has a past. Many years before, during a full eclipse, her abusive husband (David Strathairn) died in an apparent, but convenient accident.

King's original book was a departure into straight psychological drama with no supernatural or horror elements, unless you count the verbal and physical abuse that Dolores endures from the people in her life.

Screenwriter Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton, Nightcrawler, Star Wars:Rogue One) does a hell of a job adapting King's novel. King's flair for character dialogue remains intact, with Bates perfectly interpreting every "New Englandah" barb to perfection.

Director Taylor Hackford (An Officer and a Gentleman, Against All Odds) crafts a thriller with deep dramatic roots, flashing back and forth between the nineties and the fateful summer of 1975.

It draws you in almost immediately and then pulls you along, introducing an aggressive, mean-spirited detective (Christopher Plummer) determined to take another crack at Dolores. We meet the arrogant, rich woman who becomes Dolores's employer Vera, powerfully played by Judy Parfitt (Ever After) as a multi-layered woman who finds unexpected common ground with Dolores.

Stephen King wrote the novel with Kathy Bates in mind after he met her on the set of "Misery". It's one of Bates best performances.

These are unhappy people, beaten down by life, but there's much more to Dolores and her daughter than there might appear.

The women of this film are a powerful bunch, while the featured men, with the exception of young constable Frank (played by a very young John C. Reilly) are a miserable bunch of bastards.

The cast is fantastic from top to bottom.

If you think King is all horror and bump in the night, you'll soon discover that human behavior can be just as terrifying as any killer clown or rabid dog.

DOLORES CLAIBORNE is a terrific King adaption that plays very well more than 20 years after its release.

It gets an A.

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