Ohhh my God, I picked a doozy for the first real review of the month.
I am kinda speechless after watching Lolita. I don't even really know where to begin. I kinda loved it! I know that is so weird to say but, I really loved Lolita! I had a ball watching this movie and enjoyed it on multiple levels, and I will admit I have not read the novel so I had no frame of reference for anything. I just knew it was a controversial book that was adapted into a well known and slightly controversial film. Yes, it is the story of a middle aged man who becames infatuated and obsessed with a young teenage girl but the story goes well and far beyond this taboo relationship. In fact, the movie surprised me quite a bit but in the best way possible. First of all, I didn't know it was a black and white film which was a nice change of pace and it really does look nice. The second and most huge of the surprises was how funny this movie was, I was laughing way more than I ever thought possible with a film like Lolita, but I guess it shouldn't have been too much of a shock since Peter Sellers is in the movie but it is genuinely funny and I think that is what tipped this movie from a good movie to a pretty grand movie. Last but not least are the performances, now I fully expected decent performances but it gave me so much more than that. James Mason is great, I know this couldn't have been an easy role to take considering the subject matter but the film isn't exploitative and he handles the dramatics very well, and I honestly could just listen to him talk for hours, he just has a great voice. Peter Sellers brings his usual absurd and arguably camp perfomance which easily made me just crack up, his delivery and more importantly his dialogue is so odd and yet so damn funny. That's the best way I can describe the comedic tone to this movie, very odd but still makes you laugh. In fact, you'll know by the end of the first scene whether or not you'll like this movie. But I have to give so much credit to Sue Lyon as our eponymous character. Oh my stars, she is brilliant! Brilliant! For an actress who was 15 during the production she handles this performance just right, she's funny, she can be a bit of a wise ass, she's a totally real teenager, and I wish so badly I could divulge into her character arc but it would be a huge detriment to not only her acting but the latter parts of the story. Needless to say I was very impressed and genuinely loved how they potrayed her. I feel a lot of people assume the film is as smutty as the book, but you honestly don't see anything and for good reason. The film would probably be banned if they explored it more and even today it can be viewed as this taboo, video nasty, sort of forbidden film though all of the more ahem, mature aspects have to be inferred into and are never fully spelt out. It's not this film that advocates in favor of such a relationship and says it's totally fine, it's not. Truthfully, hand over my heart, it plays like a drama about just two people in a relationship. The age of Lolita is hardly ever brought up, and the film incorporates a passage of time element so you're never really sure of her age, and the uh...physical aspect is only brought up once. Now I'm not saying it's good or right, the film just potrays this form of relationship in a different light and could be told today without the age difference and still hold up. I won't spoil anything minor or major, but really pay attention to how Lolita and Humbert differ from each other as the film progresses. There's a genuine growth, and the ending for Lolita is a very happy one with her life at a pleasant place with a bright future. It's such a different film and deserving of the praise it has gathered since it was released in 1962, and I do urge more people to see it and to simply judge it on it's merits rather than preconceptions. It just isn't the film you suspect. 8/10!